Appeal against ruling on Sooba’s appointment thrown out

Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards has struck out an appeal filed on behalf of Carol Sooba with respect to a ruling by Chief Justice (ag) Ian Chang that she was unlawfully appointed to the substantive post of Town Clerk by then local government minister Ganga Persaud.

Justice of Appeal Cummings-Edwards refused the application on June 27.

Justice Cummings-Edwards’s order noted that by way of Summons dated April 24, filed on behalf of Sooba, application were made for the April 10 order and/or the effect of the order by Justice Chang be stayed until the hearing and determination of the Notice of Appeal.

Justice Cummings-Edwards made her decision after reading the affidavit in support of summons; the affidavit in answer which was sworn to and filed on April 14 and the affidavit in reply which was sworn to and filed on May 21.

The judge also heard arguments by the attorneys for the various parties.

City Council Public Relations Officer Royston King was the first named respondent/applicant while the Attorney General was listed as the respondent/applicant.

Sooba’s appointment as Town Clerk was quashed by Justice Chang, who found that her appointment was “legally defective” since Persaud did not have the lawful authority to appoint anyone.

Justice Chang said in his ruling the Persaud’s decision to appoint Sooba as the Town Clerk was “ultra vires” since that responsibility was vested in the Local Government Service Commission, although it has never been set up.

“…It is the finding of the court that the minister acted ultra vires the provisions of the Municipal and District Councils Act, Chapter 28:01, and his decision to appoint Carol Sooba as Town Clerk must be quashed,” he had said.

However, he added that his decision did not prevent Sooba from continuing to perform as the “de facto” Town Clerk. It needed a direct challenge by quo warrant to the authority of Sooba to bring her de facto to an end, Justice Chang said.

King’ had moved to the court after Sooba was appointed despite widespread disapproval and also because an interview panel had voted her as the least qualified person for the job. He had charged that the decision was an abuse of power because Persaud had failed to apply the criteria he had originally established when advertising for a Town Clerk.

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