Please refer to an article which appeared in Stabroek Business of Friday, February 7, captioned, ‘Bourda Green “gone to the dogs” – Town Clerk miffed at Stabroek News, refuses to comment.’ This is very unfortunate.
I am particularly concerned about the reported statement attributed to Ms Carol Sooba that, “Sooba had said some months ago that she, and not City Hall’s Public Relations Officer, should be the source from which to secure official comments.” As far as I am aware the Mayor and City Council has in its establishment a division whose portfolio includes press relations. That section is headed by a Public Relations Officer.
The Public Relations Officer has clearly defined responsibilities including publicizing the specific and general interests of the Georgetown municipality and disseminating information on the affairs of the council in a timely and efficient manner. This requires specific skills, competencies and qualifications.
Further, the Mayor and City Council has repeatedly said at its statutory meetings and other fora that the Public Relations Officer is the main source of information on all and any matter pertaining to the Georgetown City Council, and that the Public Relations Officer has the responsibility to speak on behalf of the council.
The Town Clerk is an employee of the council, who, like all other officers of the municipality, is obliged to take instructions from the council and implement its decisions.
Therefore, that officer is not at liberty to change, alter or in any way interfere with the job description of any officer of the council or re-define the work or responsibility of any department or section of the council without the express permission of the Mayor and City Council.
I am not aware that anyone from Stabroek News approached me for a comment on what is clearly a very serious issue that needs urgent attention. As you would know this council has never refused to comment on any matter affecting the development and progress of the council and the City of Georgetown. In fact, we depend on our good relationship with the media to help us win the support and cooperation of citizens in our effort to advance the interest of the city. Therefore, we apologise for the impression you have gained, viz, an “overwhelming insensitivity” on the part of the council, to this issue.
Notwithstanding that, I have met with some of our legal tenants ‒ stall-holders ‒ who operate in that area of our market facility. I will submit a full report on this issue shortly.
Mayor and City