City council passes motion for mayor to discipline councillors for misconduct

The City Council on Monday passed a motion to have councillors disciplined for misconduct.

The motion was tabled by APNU+AFC Councillor Heston Bostwick and originally targeted fellow APNU+AFC Councillor Sherod Duncan for bringing a motion of no confidence against Town Clerk Royston King.

Bostwick’s motion was amended after Duncan’s motion was disallowed.

The amended motion called for Mayor Patricia Chase-Green to “enforce the conduct of all councillors with the Standing Order Rules” set out in the Municipal and District Councils Act.

The motion, however, retained several recital clauses which referenced the actions of Duncan. According to the motion, since Duncan submitted the no-confidence motion and almost simultaneously gave copies to the media, he indulged in “improper release of information,” which it said is an offence he has repeatedly committed.

It further stated that Duncan’s actions appeared to have been calculated to instigate public ridicule of the Town Clerk and the Council, which could hurt the reputation of the City Council.

“The Town Clerk is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Council and public ridicule against him can affect the performance of the organization which in turn can affect the system to deliver Municipal services to communities… erode public trust and confidence in the work of the council,” the motion further posits.

In presenting the motion at Monday’s statutory meeting, Bostwick stressed that the “spirit and image” of the council must be protected and that to do otherwise is to undermine its effectiveness.

He railed against the actions of Duncan and was joined by Councillor Lyndon Hillman, who argued that some on the council seem more interested in tearing the council down than in serving the community.

Hillman stressed that opposition to decisions by the council, including the controversial metered parking project, originate from the horseshoe table and that must not be allowed to continue.

It was the second motion brought by Bostwick on the conduct of councillors.

In April, 2017, he had tabled a motion calling for councillors to be sanctioned for “gross misconduct” over disrespect that he said was shown to the mayor.

At that time, Bostwick told Stabroek News that since he had been a councillor he had seen many of his peers behaving disrespectfully.

“I come from a disciplined party and I’m not here to tolerate indiscipline from anybody…,” he said.

The motion, according to Bostwick, was to be used to address the behaviour of councillors both in and out of statutory meetings.

“If in the opinion of Mayor or presiding officer a councillor says or does anything to bring council in disrepute or disrespect the chair they can be sanctioned. You are here to be a disciplined councillor and to demonstrate discipline and respect for each other,” he had explained.

The motion called for any councillor or officer of the Mayor and City Coun-cil who conducts themselves “in any manner to the Mayor or Presiding officer member that is deemed to be gross misconduct to the Mayor or Presiding Member of the City Council” to be sanctioned according to sections of the Municipal and District Councils Act.

Like Monday’s motion, it invoked the oaths taken by councillors to abide by the laws of Guyana under the Act and referenced Sections 27 to 31 of that Act, which it states “gives clear guidance with regards to misconduct of any member/councillor.”

The first motion was disallowed by King, who had informed councillors that the Act already provided for disciplinary action against councillors.

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