Former Georgetown Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan has assured his constituents that his new post as a Public Relations Officer at the Ministry of Business will in no way stifle his advocacy at the council.
Asked if his position as a government employee will present any conflict of interest or make it difficult for him to be critical of government policies brought for council approval, Duncan said no.
“I don’t see a conflict of interest. Honestly. I will continue to speak my mind regardless,” he told Stabroek News.
Duncan, a member of the Alliance for Change earned his seat on the council as the first-past-the-post candidate for the hotly contested Constituency 14 (South Ruimveldt Park/Ruimveldt Industrial Site).
He was elected Deputy Mayor on April 1 and spent much of his year in the post in conflict with Mayor Patricia Chase-Green though they both represent the ruling APNU+AFC coalition.
Three months into their tenure, Duncan and several other councillors began asking questions about the legitimacy of a parking meter contract between the city and National Parking Systems/Smart City Solutions (NPS/SCS)
In May 2016, 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 Chambers. A subsequent boycott of the project and weekly protests by citizens led to a decision by central government to suspend for three months the bylaws which empower the project. This suspension is still in place while a team from the council attempts to renegotiate once again.
There are however still those, such as the Movement Against Parking Meters and several Private Sector Organisations, who are calling for the contract to be rescinded since it failed to comply with the national procurement legislation.