Councillor Akeem Peter of APNU+AFC is the new Deputy Mayor of Georgetown while Patricia Chase-Green will have a third term as Mayor after a City election which saw AFC councillors “kicked to the curb.”
Peter who is a member of the PNCR, the largest party in the APNU coalition, was elected unopposed after former Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan was prevented from nominating the incumbent Lionel Jaikaran. Both Jaikaran and Duncan are members of the AFC.
AFC Executive member and Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson who was present at the elections told Stabroek News that the day’s events “reaffirm the decision made by AFC that a defined set of arrangements needs to be in place before the AFC will join APNU in contesting the 2018 Local Government Elections.”
He noted that the AFC wrote to President David Granger several weeks ago requesting a meeting on the issue and were told that the APNU would canvas the views of its members and get back to them.
Meanwhile, Jaikaran in congratulating the newly elected leaders of the council indicated that he would be leaving his position on April 1 with his head held high and his conscience clear as he stuck to his principles while in office.
He later told reporters that in choosing to deny Duncan the right to speak the mayor made a decision which saw “the AFC… kicked to the curb.”
The election process like most decision making at City Hall was choreographed along party lines.
Councillor Khame Sharma of the PPP/C moved a motion to have voting be conducted via secret ballot but this was defeated when 19 councillors voted against the motion. Sharma, who walked out before the vote was taken, was not there to see the three supporting votes his motion received from Councillor Bishram Kuppen also of the PPP/C as well as Councillors Duncan and Jaikarran.
The APNU councillors decided instead to support a motion tabled by former PNCR General Secretary Oscar Clark to vote by a show of hands.
Immediately thereafter, Chase-Green, clad in her signature green, was predictably elected unopposed in a scene similar to both of her previous elections. This time the process took almost double the 50 seconds it lasted the last time as Town Clerk Royston King was keen in calling for a vote to close nominations.
Assuming the duties of chair, Chase-Green then called for nominations at which time both Clarke and Duncan indicated their wish to speak. Clarke was recognised and he nominated Peter, the nomination was seconded by Hillman and the floor was opened.
At this point both Duncan and APNU councillor Trichia Richards stood to speak and a standoff ensued with Chase-Green instructing that one of the councillors must sit.
Both councillors remained standing and the Town Clerk advised the Mayor that she was required to make a judgement. The Mayor acknowledged Richards who moved to close nominations, a motion which was supported by the majority of councillors present.
Duncan was not surprised by the decision. In fact he had already offered congratulations to Peter two hours before the meeting was convened.
“I wish to congratulate the incoming Deputy Mayor of Georgetown Akeem Peter. You have a bright future ahead of you. Remember the people whose interest you will represent. Serve well,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
As the meeting drew to a close Peter and Chase-Green both stood to acknowledge the congratulations offered by several councillors. While the Mayor declared that she would survive “amidst all the scandal and all the backbiting”, Peter vowed to support the Mayor and operate hand in hand.
He pledged to “be strong when she is not, see where she cannot see” as he declared himself a servant of the city.
“We have to work together. 2018, I foresee being the best year for Georgetown…this is not about politics this is about service,” Peters stressed reminding councillors of their duties to the residents of Georgetown.
The meeting closed with a rendition of “Let us Cooperate for Guyana”.