Members of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, (M&CC) are raising questions over the actions of Town Clerk, Royston King, in relation to the destruction of the green space earmarked as the Bel Air Park playfield.
The playfield is at the centre of a legal battle between the M&CC and Attorney-at-law Devindra Kissoon, a resident of the community.
Kissoon had successfully challenged the Council’s attempt to take over the playground in Court. Council had intended to sell or lease the reserved community lands to a private developer.
Members of the Council were in negotiations with local housing developer, Terrence Taljit, to transfer to him prime community lands despite a restriction on the transport of the property for use as community purposes only.
The M&CC had proposed a plan to use the land to construct houses for members of the city administration, including the Town Clerk.
Subsequent to a ruling of the Court, last month, which essentially blocked the M&CC intentions for the land, Town Clerk Royston King moved to fence and clear the playground of all vegetation.
He later returned to Court to have the order set aside. On Monday, the Town Clerk faced a series of questions from Councillors, who expressed concerns over the manner in which the city administration is handling the matter.
Councillor Alfred Mentore raised the issue at the statutory meeting held at City Hall yesterday.
He noted the Town Clerk had acted on his own by moving to clear the land and appeal the Court ruling.
“I want to know which committee approved this and how much money was spent.”
Mentore contended that the issue surrounding the Bel Air Park Playfield should be treated as a sensitive one in light the Court proceedings.
“Who authorised the clearing of the land and destruction of the vegetation (green space)… It should not have been touched at a time like this,” Mentore added. He called on the Town Clerk to provide full disclosures on the matter.
Councillor Andrea Marks and a few others present at the horseshoe table yesterday raised their voices in support of Mentore.
In response, King told the meeting that the matter is being addressed by city administration but he does not have a problem updating the council with information based on the issues raised.
Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikaran, had previously warned that King’s pursuit of legal action in the Bel Air playground matter is without the approval of the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).
Last month, King approached the Court in a bid to have a ruling by Justice Gino Persaud pertaining to a plot of community land located at Eping Avenue, Bel Air Park Georgetown, set aside.
“News of the Town Clerk’s continuation of the court action stopping the city council’s attempt to appropriate the Bel Air Park playground has come as a complete surprise to me, there being no consultation or vote by the council on this matter,” Jaikaran had explained.
It is unclear how much taxpayer funds are being used to pursue the matter in the High Court, which now appears, based on Jaikaran’s observations, to be devoid of council members.
Even after the court ruling, officers of the Council moved to clear and fence the open playfield. “I am extremely concerned that the unilateral acts of the Town Clerk are tarnishing the reputation of the entire council, this being particularly troubling since the matter has neither been discussed nor voted on by the full council,” Jaikaran stated.
He noted that the decision to ‘destroy the park’ and use it for housing was never discussed and sanctioned by the full Council.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, has condemned the attempts by the Georgetown Mayor and City Council to convert the Bel Air Park playfield into a space for residential use.
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