Rose Hall Mayor accuses Holland of disrespect after criticism over Town Clerk’s hiring

Vijay Kumar Ramoo

The Mayor of Rose Hall Vijay Kumar Ramoo is incensed that President of the Guyana Association of Municipalities (GAM) Carwyn Holland was bold enough to reprimand his council for its recent hiring of a Town Clerk at its statutory meeting on Wednesday.

“He was disrespectful to this council and I intend to rebut him publicly and in writing. He asked to visit as a courtesy and in my absence dominated our statutory meeting for two hours so he could deliver a political speech. That is unacceptable,” Ramoo told Stabroek News.

According to Ramoo, in appointing a Town Clerk the council acted no different than the Ministry of Communities has acted in making urgent appointments of local government officers across the country, including in Region 10.

Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan has admitted to appointing former Chairman of the Linden Interim Management Committee Orrin Gordon as the Regional Executive Officer (REO) for that region.

Bulkan has also thrice appointed Henry Rupert Smith as Mayor of Mabaruma against the wishes of half that council.

Carwyn Holland

Holland visited the municipality on Wednesday and he addressed the council on several issues. A press statement from GAM yesterday noted that the former Linden Mayor told councillors that they should put people first and become “[au fait] with the new dispensation involving the Local Government Commission (LGC) and stay within the confines of the law.”  At the time, he was speaking about the appointment of a Town Clerk by the council.

The appointment is under review by the LGC, which Ramoo previously said failed for several months to act on the council’s request to review applicants for the post as a matter of urgency.

Ramoo explained to this newspaper that the municipality had a vacancy for a Town Clerk after the former office holder, Natasha Munroe, secured another job. The post was duly advertised and three candidates applied. These candidates were interviewed and the present acting Town Clerk emerged as the most suitable.

These interviews were conducted in February and their results were forwarded to Chairman of the LGC Mortimer Mingo for action. Speaking with this newspaper on the day he received Rose Hall’s request, Mingo noted that it was one of “more than a dozen” issues which had been referred to the LGC for action.

At the time, he indicated that he was responding to all correspondence with an acknowledgment and a promise that the LGC would act “soonest.”

Two months later, the LGC is still not fully active and Ramoo has stressed that the administration of his municipality could not be held at a standstill.

“I made six attempts and up to the day of the statutory meeting in March, I called Mingo. Our statutory meeting starts around 12.30 and goes until 6pm. I called him at 12 and he said they were still setting up the secretariat. Rose Hall can’t wait forever so the man is on a three months’ probation,” Ramoo explained.

He further stated that at the meeting a majority vote was recorded in favour of employing the successful applicant as Town Clerk. The two APNU+ AFC councillors who were present abstained, while all other councillors assented to the motion.

The Rose Hall council is made up of 13 councillors, nine of whom represent the PPP/C while the remaining four represent the APNU+AFC.

Stabroek News repeatedly reached out to Holland and Mingo for comment on the issue but up to press time neither official could be reached.

Minister Bulkan, when contacted, said that while he is in receipt of various correspondence on the issue, it was a matter which the LGC must address.

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