Georgetown, GINA, August 8, 2013
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Ganga Persaud today reaffirmed his Ministry’s full support for the acting Town Clerk, Carol Sooba in light of the continuous efforts of Mayor Hamilton Green and some of his councillors to have her ousted from the Office which she holds.
Speaking at a press conference, the Minister said that based on discussions on this matter, the view was expressed that the Mayor’s actions may be based on the agenda and the ethnicity of the Town Clerk.
“If that is so then it is extremely disappointing that the Mayor has not changed…he continues to throw tantrums and continue to mislead persons around the market areas to advocate for the removal of the Town Clerk,” Minister Persaud said.
He said that the Ministry is convinced that the acting Town Clerk is doing all within her power with the support of some of her administrative staff to seek to ensure that the City is benefiting from effective, efficient, transparent and accountable management.
“These are new elements at the city council and so it is causing serious discomfort to the Office of the Mayor who seems to function best in an environment where there is lack of accountability, no transparency and abuse of power,” the Local Government Minister emphasised.
The Minister had already made it clear that the Guyana Police Force will be asked to intervene and provide the necessary security for Sooba to ensure that she gets unhindered access to her office.
“It will serve the Mayor best to exhort his energy in mobilising the very people around to go out there and remove the garbage that is piling up all over the city, clean the drains that are clogged up and are causing mosquito infestation and other unhealthy situations emanating from a clogged drainage system, rather than divert his energy for the removal of the Town Clerk acting.”
The Mayor has been presiding over a council where there is growing dissatisfaction from the people who they have elected to serve. Meanwhile, these same councillors have been paying themselves exorbitant stipends.
“The Ministry stands firm behind the acting Town Clerk. We have recognised that the town clerk would have sought to restore the required accountability, transparency, efficiency and effectiveness that is required when managing taxpayers’ resources and so the Ministry will continue to provide all support necessary,” Minister Persaud said.
Interim Management Committees (IMCs)
With regards to the political Opposition’s criticisms of the Interim Management Committees (IMCs), the Minister reminded that the municipality of Georgetown is not governed by an IMC, but rather by the votes cast by citizens of the town in the 1994 local government elections.
He said that the IMCs that have been established are not functioning in the manner in which the municipality of Georgetown is.
“This is the worst managed local authority in the 71 across this country, and it is presided over by Hamilton Green and his councillors who were elected in the 1994 elections,” he asserted.
Before a municipality can be disbanded, there are certain procedures that must be followed. These include: consultations and a fully supported petition which signals the will of the majority for such an IMC.
As it is right now, the Minister is restrained from even contemplating to hold consultations to find out whether or not the citizens of Georgetown would prefer to have an IMC, as a result of the court order that was obtained by some of the councillors at the municipality.
“The Opposition MPs are blowing hot and cold on these issues of IMC, they recognise that wherever the Minister would have established an IMC using due process, none of them would have given the kind of distress to the citizens within the respective boundaries like what the City council is putting the citizens of Georgetown in,” he said.