Mayor, Town Clerk were not working in city’s best interest – CoI

first_imgEvidence presented to the Commission of Inquiry has indicated that outgoing Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk Royston King had not been working collectively to meet the needs of the city.This was shared by the Chairman of the CoI, Justice Cecil Kennard, who told the Local Government Commission (LGC) and media operatives that neglect has been one of the key traits shared by senior officials at City Hall.“I’m convinced that the Town Clerk and the Mayor are not working in the best interest of the city…To sum it all, most of the woes of the City Council have been due to neglect and mismanagement by the top officers of the Council”, he said.He divulged that the Commission’s judgment of the staff’s performance and accountability was accurate, since it was not politically driven. This is evident in the fact that the LGC is an independent agency tasked with spearheading local organs.“These are (members of) the main management team, and if they are incompetent or neglectful, are we going to keep them in those positions? I must make it abundantly clear…that this was not a Commission set up by the Government, so no politics was involved. It was set up by the Local Government Commission, a constitutional body; and they are independent of any Ministry or Government.”Forensic auditThe report recommends that a forensic audit be conducted as part of an extension to the investigation, and “criminal charges” must be laid against all staff who are found accountable.The matter of the lease was raised once again, and the Chairman was under the impression that King’s actions of leasing property not owned by the city “may very well” lead to criminal charges.“I’m recommending that there be further investigation in the form of a forensic audit to be conducted by the Audit Office of Guyana… By granting a lease of property when the land is not owned by City Hall, a misrepresentation (has been committed), and may very well amount to a criminal offence”, the Chairman has said.It was mentioned in the report that the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited lawfully own the property via a vesting order. Quick Shipping Incorporated, the company that currently operates from the piece of land at Lot 1 Mudflat, Lombard Street, has been asked to make contact with NICIL at the earliest.Legal representativeAnother recommendation made is that the Council should establish a functioning legal division, with an attorney-at-law who can assist in any legal matters that arise. Given the fact that legal matters are dealt with every day, Justice Kennard made it clear that one individual should be entirely responsible for all legal issues.“[I recommend] that the council employ, as soon as possible, a qualified legal personnel to hold the legal office. At the moment, from my understanding, there is no legal office. Why this position must be filled is because legal issues arise on a day-to-day basis, and there must be a lawyer on the spot to deal with that. You cannot have lawyers working ad hoc on one case and then do another case. You must have somebody there to deal with all legal issues.”This recommendation comes after a no-confidence motion was brought against the Town Clerk by former Councillor Sherod Duncan, and the mayor allowed King to seek advice from his lawyer, Maxwell Edwards, which was later presented to the Council. The CoI is maintaining that independent legal advice should have been obtained, which can be made available if the Council appoints a legal representative.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *