Georgetown, GINA, August 6, 2013
Local Government and Regional Development Minister Ganga Persaud has described the actions of Georgetown Mayor Hamilton Green and City councillors to block Town Clerk (acting) Carol Sooba from her office on August 5 and 6, as ‘illegal, unlawful and distasteful.’ These sentiments were also echoed by the Minister in the Ministry Norman Whittaker.
Speaking at a press conference at the Ministry’s office, Kingston, today, Minister Persaud said, “It is unfortunate that the Mayor of the City of Georgetown would have reduced himself from being Mayor to becoming an obstacle. It is so unfortunate when you make yourself into a human barricade.”
Whatever the Mayor of Georgetown is seeking to do in preventing the Town Clerk (acting) and her staff from performing their duties is unlawful, and distasteful, he reiterated.
Meanwhile, Minister Whittaker said that Sooba, since assuming her duties has been making concerted efforts to rake in revenues for the cash-strapped municipality, and at the same she has been implementing expenditure control measures.
Minister Whittaker said that as Sooba began to implement the required measures aimed at improving the municipality, “the very same people who welcomed her and team at the start, (to the municipality) became very angry.” He said these persons are now using all kinds of measures to drive fear in the Town Clerk and her team.
He labelled this latest incident as ‘unofficial and unorthodox.’ Minister Whittaker said the report that the Ministry has, is that the Mayor and a team that includes his security denied Sooba access to her office by their physical presence and their threatening manner.
The Ministry has sought the advice of the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of Home Affairs and the matter is being dealt with, he said
Minister Whittaker also spoke of the no-confidence motion that the council passed against the Town Clerk. “The motion that the council passed… these councils can pass any amount of motions that they want to pass, the legislation is very clear, it is the Honourable Minister Ganga Persaud, who will say yes or no.”
Minister Whittaker said that the ministry has found no plausible reason for the Town Clerk to demit office, except that “she is doing the right things, and they do not want the right things, because the right things interfere with the favours and the niceties that they are enjoying,” he said.
The Council on July 24 passed a no-confidence motion against Sooba, following another earlier in the year.
Minister Whittaker also disclosed that the municipality has not received its 2013 subvention from the ministry due to the municipality’s failure to submit to the ministry, its 2013 subvention programmes, and also its budget estimates for rates and taxes collection.
Each municipality is required to submit these documents, by November 15 of each year to the Ministry.
Mayor Green along with the support of some vendors, on August 5 and again this morning blocked the entrance of City Hall in a move aimed at prohibiting the Town Clerk (acting) from entering her office.