Town Clerk Royston King has been ordered to proceed on administrative leave from Friday to facilitate the impending Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the administration and operations of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council (M&CC), which will examine the award of contracts, among other things.
Following myriad complaints about the administration and operations of the M&CC, the Local Government Commission (LGC) said it took a decision to constitute the CoI, which will examine, advise and report on irregularities that possibly exist at the local government body.
In a statement issued yesterday, the LGC explained that the decision to hold the CoI was unanimously since an April 17th statutory meeting, following deliberations on the complaints received on the M&CC’s administration and operations. It explained that at a follow up to the meeting, on June 21st, a second decision was taken to send King on leave, pending the examination and determination of all issues under inquiry.
Noting the complaints that led to the decision, the LGC cited the council’s failure to remit workers’ contributions to the National Insurance Scheme and their Credit Union, despite deductions made from their salaries, and issues surrounding the award of contracts in keeping with financial regulations, transparency and accountability, among other things.
Former Chancellor Justice Cecil Kennard has been identified to chair the CoI and is the sole commissioner.
According to the Terms of Reference, Kennard is mandated to “Investigate the administration and operations of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown; [investigate] the reason for and the process by which a motion of no confidence on the Town Clerk was dealt with by the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown; and generally to investigate any matter that may be brought to the attention of the Commissioner during the Inquiry that would adversely affect the administration and operation of the Municipality of Georgetown.”
Kennard will conduct formal hearings for witnesses, complainants and other interested parties at the Critchlow Labour College, situated at Woolford Avenue, Thomas Lands, Georgetown from Monday September 24th, 2018.
King’s management of City Hall has been the subject of mounting criticisms.
Both he and Mayor Patricia Chase-Green were severely criticised, in particular, for the implementation of metered parking project. King was also criticised for his aggressive approach in handling the removal of vendors and in going after some business entities found encroaching on council’s reserve.
At a special statutory meeting, which was called to discuss vending issues of stall holders from the Stabroek Market Wharf, city councillors were yesterday officially informed of the planned CoI ordered by the LGC. The councillors were made aware of the CoI by Mayor Chase-Green, who made the announcement after reading a letter penned to her by the LGC.
Reading from the letter, she informed councillors that King will be proceeding on leave from Friday and Deputy Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe will be acting in his stead.
Subsequent to the conclusion of the meeting, King, with a wide smile on his face, declined to comment on the issue. “No comments… I will not be making any comments on this,” he said when approached by reporters.
The LGC, in its statement, noted that members of the public who may wish to engage the Commission of Inquiry are advised to do so via email: [email protected] or on telephone number: (592)-687- 9341.
Persons desirous of participating in the CoI can also engage the Legal Clerk/Secretary of the CoI at Critchlow Labour College this week, during the hours of 8 am to 4.30 pm, the statement said, while adding that all persons with information that may aid the work of the CoI or who may have complaints against the M&CC are encouraged to visit the office established for this purpose to have same addressed.