Written by Mark Murray
“The reason why this meeting was called (is) because neither the Town Clerk nor the Mayor or any Councillor could suspend a by-law, or could suspend the contract without it first having come back to the Council,” said Town Clerk, Royston King.
King made these comments during the sitting of an extraordinary statutory meeting of the Council on Monday (March 20, 2017).
This meeting was called to discuss a Suspension Order granted by Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan to suspend the Georgetown Metered Parking by-laws for three months, with effect from last Friday (March 17, 2017).
King told the Council that “it must come back to the Council because it was this Council that approved it, and it is only this Council that can disapprove it or suspend it, and that is why based on the laws, I brought the matter to the Council.”
He also explained that the legal implications in going ahead with the suspension of the contract were given by the Council’s Attorney, after which a document was circulated to the Acting Mayor, who was therefore advised to summon such meeting.
However, it was only Monday (March 20, 2017) that the other Councillors of the Georgetown municipality received the legal advice on the way forward.
King said it his view, based on a majority of the Councillors, that they needed more time to study the recommendations given by the Lawyer.
APNU Councillor, Heston Bostwick was the one who raised a motion for consideration to be given for the Council to consider the Communities Minister’s Order and the advising the Minister of its decision thereafter.
The Town Clerk said he has also put Smart City Solutions (SCS) on notice about the Order given by the Minster Bulkan. “I suggested to them that we have received the missive from the Minister, the Order, a copy of that Order was sent to our partners attached with a letter and I said to them we are seeking Legal advice and once we have that legal advice that will be remitted to them,” he said.
Councillor, Akeem Peter at one point of the Meeting even put forward a motion before the Council saying “yes, we just received the document; I don’t think we should have to suspend the meeting for a 4-page document. So, I am suggesting can we suspend the meeting for one hour and then resume in the next hour?”
Peter’s motion only saw support from six councillors, while 14 opposed and seven others were absent.
People’s Progressive Party Councillor, Khame Prakash Sharma even added his voice to the matter of the day saying he supported Mr. Peter because the motions before the body contradicts “the order given by the Honorable Minister who has the authority over this Council and over yourself (Acting Mayor) and the Town Clerk, and the Councillors here.”
King the explained that the Minister has exercised his powers of Authority “but Minister Authority is to direct the Council. The Council must now deliberate, discuss and take a decision on that directive. Minister has not suspended, he has not given an Order to suspend, He has given an order directing the Council and that is why we are here.”
“As you would know Mr. Chairman (Acting Mayor, Sherod Duncan) we all have our individual positions on this particular on this project but I remain objective to carry out the decisions of the Council. I just wanted to make those comments for the records,” said King
At the end of the extraordinary statutory meeting, no decision was made on if City Hall will go with the Minister’s Order at this time to suspend the parking meter contract. This decision will be made at a later date.