Duncan up for mayoral contest but awaits party decision

Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan says he is ready to contest for the post of Mayor if called upon by his party to do so.

Over the next month, the nine municipalities and 62 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC) will be holding their internal elections to identify those persons who will serve as mayors and deputy mayors of the various municipalities as well as the chairpersons and the vice chairpersons  of the NDCs.

The yearly elections, which are in keeping with the Local Government Act and the Municipal and District Councils Act, must be held by December 16.

The Georgetown Mayor and City Council, unlike several other local government authorities, has not yet announced a date for the elections.

 Sherod Duncan
Sherod Duncan

However, asked by Stabroek News if he was interested in contesting for the post of Mayor, Duncan said that “throwing my hat in the ring in the mayoral race is under consideration but like other matters of this nature it would need to be discussed at the level of the AFC party leadership.”

He further noted that the AFC must also consider that it is part of a coalition government, “so a decision has to take that into view as well.”

Duncan, who has been vocal about his disagreement with how decisions are made and executed at the level of the council and city administration, maintained that despite his personal ambitions or those of his party, the ultimate consideration has to be making a decision that is in the best interest of Georgetown residents, including “whether a management or leadership shake up is necessary at this point to get where we need to be.”

Duncan is currently performing the duties of Mayor, while substantive Mayor Patricia Chase-Green is in China at a heath management conference with Town Clerk Royston King.

Chase-Green, who was elected to office on April 1 this year, has spent a considerable portion of her tenure fielding controversy.

This included the legitimacy of a parking meter contract between the city and National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions (NPS/SCS). In May, Chase-Green had announced to the council that a proposal from NPS/SCS to construct and operate a parking platform had been approved, the contract signed and the project in the first stages of implementation. She did not, however, provide councillors with a copy of the contract nor an explanation of the terms of the agreement between NPS/SCS and the council.

The Mayor had claimed that the proposal had been approved in November last year by the previous council.

Since that time, the contract has been reviewed by the Ministry of Finance and the Attorney General’s Office. A recommended renegotiation was realized and the project is set to take off in the coming weeks.

There are however still those, including Duncan, who are calling for the contract to be rescinded since it failed to comply with the national procurement legislation.

In June, Stabroek News had asked Chase-Green if she believed the way in which the matter was handled could hurt her chances of serving more than one term as mayor.

In response, she noted that the matter was not yet concluded and she was sure that with the passing of time it would be seen in a different light.

“I’ve never had my reputation tarnished in the last council and won’t have it tarnished in this council. I have decided not to speak anymore on this parking meter issue. I will let time decide the matter. As for another tenure, that’s a future concern to be dealt with in the future,” Chase-Green said.

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