Narine to attend mayors conference in Trinidad

— disagreement arises over who will accompany him

Pandit Ubraj Narine

Georgetown Mayor, Ubraj Narine, is expected to attend the launch of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for the Caribbean Region from today to Friday in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The announcement was made on Monday at the Georgetown City Council’s statutory meeting. According to acting Town Clerk, Sharon Harry-Munroe, the forum brings together practitioners, municipal managers, policy makers and academic professionals, to address urban issues in the region. When the announcement was made, a few councillors had enquired if the invitation had specified that an official accompany the Mayor to the forum.

Chairman of the Human Resources Committee, Oscar Clarke, told the council that he believes that Narine should be accompanied by competent supporting staff to the forum. 

“I think that when these invitations come, even though they might just be for the Mayor, we will have to consider before we send out our Mayor whether it is necessary for him to have that support,” Clarke said.

Constituency councillor, Heston Bostwick, stood to move a motion for the standing orders to be suspended and for the council to come to an agreement on who should accompany the Mayor to the forum. The Town Clerk then told the council that attendance at the forum would be by invitation only.

Mayor Narine stated that given that it is usual that whenever a councillor or anyone leaves the jurisdiction on duty that they submit a report, he had asked that his personal assistant accompany him to the forum. The Mayor added that his assistant has no problem footing her own bill to accompany him to the conference. He said that while other persons may have the time to prepare a report, he would not be able to do so and his personal assistant would have to complete that report for him.

The Town Clerk responded stating that she would not advise him to do so and added that because he would be representing the city and the council at the forum, he should be accompanied by a member of the administration. The Town Clerk subsequently suggested that he be accompanied by the Deputy Town Clerk (acting).

As a disagreement arose as to who would be allowed to accompany the Mayor to the forum, the Town Clerk read the invitation to the Mayor and councillors at the meeting. The letter when read, stated, “Attendance at this event is by invitation only, so we would appreciate if you would confirm your participation by response”. The Town Clerk further stated, “Please advise if one or more of your staff will be attending the training to the aforementioned event”. She then said that is the reason she would advise that a member of the administration accompany him to the forum. When the Town Clerk suggested that he be accompanied by the acting Deputy Town Clerk, he said, “I have no problem but I would rather cancel the trip”.

Constituency councillor Akeem Peter took the floor and stressed the importance of attending the forum to represent Guyana. Peter told the council that it is important that Guyana be a part of the forum as the country has had some impact internationally as it relates to climate change and the green agenda.

When the motion— which was not on the agenda—was moved, 16 councillors voted in favour of the Mayor attending the forum and having a member of the administration take part in the workshop, while seven councillors abstained.

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