Banking institutions told Sooba is Town Clerk – Whittaker
Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Norman Whittaker, has reassured the local banking institutions that Carol Ryan Sooba is the Town Clerk of City Hall, despite the Mayor and Councillors of Georgetown informing them otherwise.
According to Whittaker, on Thursday whilst Mayor Hamilton Green and Public Relations Officer, Royston King, were “masquerading around” he formally wrote to the financial institutions informing them that Carol Ryan Sooba is the Town Clerk.
He cautioned that only Sooba and the City Treasurer are to conduct financial transactions on behalf of the Council.
However, Mayor Green dispatched letters to the banking institutions yesterday informing them that King is the Town Clerk (Ag). Without access to current cheque books and other relevant financial documents, the Mayor and majority of the Councillors are convinced that King would be able to function effectively as Town Clerk with “systems being put in place”.
Nonetheless, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Greene and King who held a press conference yesterday at City Hall refused to divulge what systems they are putting in place to take charge of City Hall’s finances.
They claimed that it would be a breach of security to say how they will take control since Sooba is still occupying the Town Clerk’s Office. When asked if they could fire Sooba, Green said City Hall has found itself in an absurd unique situation. He believes that any decent bureaucrat would have left already.
Moreover, Sooba signed off on cheques for the payment of weekly staff on Thursday. If the banking institutions honour the Mayor and Councillors’ request the staff may not access their wages. However, King said that the staff members were spoken to and relevant steps would be taken.
Chase-Green said that Sooba is aware that her occupying the Town Clerk’s Office is illegal and therefore deduced that the banks may not acknowledge her signature on those cheques.
She reiterated that the appointment of Sooba as Town Clerk by the Minister was deemed illegal by the Chief Justice’s ruling. She noted that the Minister does not have the authority to appoint the Town Clerk.
In the absence of the Local Government Commission the Council is the only body vested with the power to appoint the Town Clerk.
As a Local Government Officer, King was tasked with the responsibility as Town Clerk. However, he was not appointed Town Clerk.
According to Mayor Green, on an individual basis Sooba moved to the Court for a stay of execution. She was represented by Roysdale Forde. He added that Attorney General, Anil Nandlall, was also at the Court and it appeared as if he was representing Sooba. King was represented by Nigel Hughes.
Nandlall confirmed that he was representing the Minister of Local Government in the matter.
Chase-Green said Government is threatened by the competencies of the Council that was elected in 1994.
Since 2008 Government has been trying to appoint someone aligned to them to be the Town Clerk.
This is the third time since 2011 that King has assumed the position of Town Clerk (Ag). The first appointment by the Council was overruled by then Local Government Minister, Kellawan Lall.
Lall then appointed Yonette Pluck, a person who allegedly was not interviewed for the job. In 2012, when the Council was looking for a replacement, King was once again appointed by the Council but this appointment too was quashed. Then Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud, despite objections, appointed Sooba.
One of the main contentions surrounding Sooba’s appointment is her being unqualified for the job.
According to King, he is unaware why Government is so determined not to have him as the Town Clerk.