Residents of Bel Air have written to Local Government Minister, Ronald Bulkan regarding their standoff with Town Clerk, Royston King over a plan to convert a proposed playground into a housing project for senior council staff.
Attorney-at-Law, Devindra Kissoon, who has been fighting the takeover of the land through the courts, thanked the Minister on behalf of the residents for his initial intervention via a letter to Mayor Patricia Chase-Green dated January 29, 2018.
Kissoon outlined that sadly, over the course of the one week construction works, the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) destroyed the Park, in a transparent attempt to render it uninhabitable, removing truckloads of soil, creating a swamp and making it a general eyesore.
The recorded purpose for converting the playground was for housing for the Mayor and Town Clerk.
Kissoon noted that much to the dismay and contrary to the stance adopted by the Government on green spaces, the cash-strapped M&CC also retained counsel and has made an application to the Court to set aside the ruling that blocked City Hall from utilizing the property.
“This stance is particularly curious given the consent Order issued by Central Housing and Planning whereby it agreed not to approve any use of the Park for residential housing or for any other use than community use. No doubt, the continued action was filed to retaliate and harass Bel Air Park’s hapless residents, who are exhausted by this unnecessary battle waged against them by the very authority that is tasked with protecting their everyday lives,” Kissoon outlined.
By letter dated May 16, 2017 to King, Terrence Taljit applied for permission to develop a portion of the playground for the purpose of constructing modern homes.
Subsequently, by a letter dated June 19, 2017 to members of the Investment and Development Committee (IDC) of the M&CC, King invited the members to an IDC meeting to discuss and approve Taljit’s application.
It was revealed that the administration was desirous of building a Town House for the Mayor, Town Clerk, City Engineer & Medical Officer of Health.
Kissoon noted that the Mayor and Town Clerk, both of whom stand to benefit from the conversion of the playground to housing, were present at this meeting. It was pointed out that at no time were there consultations held with residents.
“Absent pre-emptive intervention by the residents, sadly, all rights to the playground would have been lost,” Kissoon stated.
He expressed the hope that the playground is restored to a condition which can benefit the community, and all residents are willing to participate to make this a reality.
The letter was copied to David Patterson, Minister of Public Infrastructure; Carl Greenidge, Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Khemraj Ramjattan, Vice President and Minister of Public Security; Joseph Harmon, Minister of State; and Raphael Trotman, Minister of Natural Resources.
At present, plans are afoot to have Royston King removed as Town Clerk of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council after “a series of missteps”.
Councillors from A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) and the Alliance For Change (AFC) are reviewing their options, including a no confidence motion to be moved at an upcoming council meeting.
Former Deputy Mayor and AFC councillor, Sherod Duncan said there is a crisis of leadership at the council which has caused great embarrassment to the coalition Government.
“There have been a series of missteps by the Town Clerk which have caused tremendous embarrassment to the Council,” Duncan told Kaieteur News.
He expressed belief in government to understand the urgency of the moment, noting the recent fiasco surrounding the Farnum and Bel Air playgrounds.
“Coupled with the issues like the odious parking meter contract and the intervention of central government on several fronts, to do damage control, the situation has become untenable. He (King) has to go. The Town Clerk has disqualified himself, by his own actions, from playing any meaningful role in the city going forward. We must act,” Duncan stated.
Earlier this month, Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikaran warned that King’s pursuit of legal action in the Bel Air playground matter is without the approval of the M&CC.
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