Town Clerk Royston King yesterday threatened to walk out of the statutory meeting of the Mayor and City Council after a councillor told him to shut up.
Councillor Gregory Fraser, of APNU, was on the floor addressing the city’s garbage collection problems, when King attempted to offer a correction.
“Mister Chairman I have to discuss the termination of the contract of Puran [Brothers] and Cevons [Waste Management],” Fraser said, prompting the interjection by King
However, Fraser appeared to be annoyed by the guidance provided by the Town Clerk. “Mr. Town Clerk I am not finished speaking. Mr. Town Clerk, I suggest you wait until I am finished speaking before you rebut, you don’t know what I am going to say,” he said. “Mr. Town Clerk you don’t know what I am going to say! You need to shut up!” an irate Fraser added.
“I am here to guide this meeting. I am saying the councillor used the wrong word— termination—and I am saying that the word has been incorrectly used. We have not terminated the contract of Cevons or Purans,” King, however, said.
He had previously told the meeting that the council did not terminate the contracts with the waste disposal companies but that their actions were viewed as a termination of service.
Fraser’s rebuke of King was criticised by his fellow councillors and staff of the administration, who called for him to withdraw his comment and apologise to the office of the Town Clerk.
However, Councillor Ivelaw Henry, who was elected to chair the meeting, due to the absence of both the Mayor Patricia Chase-Green (who is in Chile attending a mayoral conference) and Deputy Mayor Lionel Jaikarran, tried to dismiss the comments and move forward with the business on the agenda.
However, a heated argument ensued as councillors called for Fraser to retract his statements.
A hesitant Fraser only withdrew his statements after King threatened to walk out the meeting with his officers. The back and forth lasted approximately 20 minutes and prevented the council from addressing some matters on the agenda.
King had explained that the two companies should not resume their service to the council until the city settles its accounts with them. They are owed over $300 million.
“We suggested to them in that letter that they should not return until we have settled this matter. I have been in contact with the Finance Committee chairman Oscar Clarke and he wishes to meet with the contractors when he returns from overseas… We need to find a way on how we can move forward in terms with dealing with this matter,” King told the council, referring to the letter he wrote the two companies on their withdrawal of services.
He noted that because of the withdrawal of service by the contractors, the emergency clause in the contract came into play.
As a result, the council contracted three smaller companies to undertake collection.
The companies have each signed a three-month agreement to collect garbage from the different sections of the city, the city’s Solid Waste Manage-ment Director Walter Narine informed the council yesterday. He noted that they have been able to pick up garbage from every area in the city at least once since their retention.