Aug 01, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – Following an article that was published yesterday by this paper titled ‘Local Government Commission demotes City’s Acting Town Clerk’, newly appointed interim Acting Town Clerk of Georgetown, Candace Nelson, responded with a press release after the Mayor of Georgetown questioned her position.
Nelson had told Kaieteur News initially that she would refrain from commenting on the matter until she has read the article and has now decided to give her take on the matter. This comes after Mayor Ubraj Narine had a press conference on Friday concerning the demotion of Acting Town Clerk, Sherry Jerrick by the Local Government Commission.
The press release addressed the press conference which was held in which the Mayor stated that he publicly questioned Nelson’s competence, and said that the Council does not recognise her, in her recently appointed position, as Interim Town Clerk, by the Local Government Commission, and referred to her as the “PPP installed Town Clerk”.
Nelson stated that that led her to view the press conference on the social media platform. As a result, she stated that when she received her letter of appointment, she visited Narine’s office to meet with him on July 27. She stated that on that date, his Confidential Secretary, Ms. Jenny Gordon informed her that he could not meet with her.
The release went on to state that on July 28, Nelson again tried to meet with the Mayor via a telephone call to his office and was told that he was not available. On the July 30, Nelson stated that she visited Narine’s office and was once again told by his Confidential Secretary that he was not available to meet with her and that he could not say what time he would be able to meet with her.
“Your Confidential Secretary and other members of staff can attest to my visits and the amount of times I waited to see you, in your office located at the upper level of the Mayoral Complex”, stated Nelson. She went on to state that on July 30, she wrote to the Mayor to address the very issue she was having and requested that there be a meeting between the two of them.
However, she stated that minutes after his office accepted that letter, it was returned to the office of the Town Clerk and the staff of the Mayor and City Council refused to accept it. With this, she noted that it is not accurate for the Mayor to say that she did not meet with him.
“I reached out to you but those efforts were immediately rebuffed by you,” Nelson further stated. She mentioned that her knowledge of the vast amount of work necessary to return the city to a healthy condition compelled her not to lull in complacency but to move forward with heads of departments to plan and work for the restoration of the city and stated that she is always available to meet with the Mayor and that it could not be otherwise, seeing that she is a servant of the Council.
The press release went on to state that on the question of Nelson’s competence, she would only note that from July 2019, it was the Council who approved a recommendation for her to act as Deputy Town Clerk which was further accepted by the Local Government Commission.
Nelson relayed that in 2020, it was also the Council who approved a recommendation from a Special Human Resource Management Committee Meeting held on November 11, 2020, for her to act as Town Clerk on November 13, 2020.
This was to allow Sherry Jerrick to proceed on her vacation leave. Nelson stated that it is now public knowledge that there were issues with the chain of authority and the lines of communication, including my reporting responsibilities to the Council as well as to the Local Government Commission. “I believed then, as I do now, that I acted with propriety, professionally and in the best interest of the Council,” stated Nelson.
She went on to note that notwithstanding those issues and the confusion that surrounded them, led to her return to her substantive post of Assistant Human Resource Manager. Nelson pointed out that if in 2019, the Council approved a recommendation for her to perform the duties of Town Clerk, then it must have been the case that the entire Council had confidence in her qualifications and competency to perform those duties; otherwise, why would they have approved her.
According to Nelson, the fundamental question that must be asked now is why the questions now about her appointment, to Interim Town Clerk, by the Local Government Commission in 2021. She stated that while she fully understands the politics being played at the Council and the cast of actors involved, she does not take lightly the remarks attributed by the Mayor in the media about her character; that they appear to be personal attacks against her aimed at exposing her to public odium and ridicule.
“More worryingly, comments by you, Mr. Mayor could undermine the authority and work of the Council. This in turn can cause further deterioration of an already unhealthy and untidy city,” the release stated. She stated that the elective Council and administration have to work together, as a cohesive team, to arrest the noticeable slide of the health and wellbeing of the nation’s capital.
Additionally, Nelson divulged that she finds it unusually unacceptable that the Mayor has used her accepting an appointment from the Local Government Commission to serve the city, as an occasion to malign her name and character, in the public, stating that it is “so wrong”.
Nelson stated that she respectfully says that the Mayor’s action could serve to discourage young professionals from accepting leadership roles in the city and the country as a whole. She continued, relaying that as a young Guyanese, she is always available to serve her country, in whatever capacity she is asked to by the authorities.
She pointed her attention to the records of the Council, which she noted would show that in 2018, she worked with a team of officials, at the City Council, to clean up Georgetown. As a result of those efforts, the capital had started to ooze with health and goodness and there was great excitement by citizens and stakeholders, to work towards a clean, healthy and safe city. She added that she was not in leadership then but willingly served as part of a strategic team and played her part.
She stated that now that she has been asked to lead the administration of the Council, albeit for an interim period, she will endeavour to do her best and to strive for excellence in all things and mentioned that she is ready and willing to work with the Mayor, Councillors and all stakeholders to restore Georgetown to its former healthy state.
“Nevertheless, the nature and huge potentials of your public statements to expose me to harm, make it necessary for me to copy this letter to: Hon. Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, the Chairman of the Local Government Commission, the Chairman of Human Resource Management Committee, my Attorney-at-Law and the media,” Nelson stated in the conclusion of her release.
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