Linden Town Clerk denies allegations made by Mayor and Councillors
As the battle between the Town Clerk Joneller Bowen and the Mayor and Councillors of Linden continues, Bowen during an interview with News Room on Wednesday denied allegations that she has been uncooperative and may have leaked financial documents to the press relating to the expenditure of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor.
On Monday during a lengthy press conference, Mayor, Carwyn Holland leveled several accusations against Bowen, including her accusing him and the Deputy Mayor of spending over 500 thousand dollars in travel expenses from the already depleted coffers of the Linden Town Council (LTC), which was published in sections of the media and other counterproductive actions by the Town Clerk.
He also threatened legal action against Bowen for defamation of character.
During News Room’s interview with the Town Clerk, regarding these allegations, she categorically denied leaking any of the council’s financial documents to the press. She said the matter of expenditure by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor was only raised at the meeting of the financial committee, which she deems as the appropriate venue for the topic. ” I have never gone to the media with the matter of expenditure for the Mayor or Deputy Mayor , it is appropriate and I am mandated based on what is expected or what should be expended based on the line items for our budget, that it is raised, ” Bowen said.
She also reasoned that there would have been other persons tasked with the preparation of said documents, which she had requested, “as far as I am concerned, those are accusations because as is, where is the evidence to show?” the Town Clerk questioned.
When asked about the accusations of her being politically aligned with the opposition and possibly serving a political purpose to stymie the development of the LTC, which is APNU+AFC dominated, Bowen said ” I keep an open mind and I am very fair and just on issues when it comes to the walls of the council it is the council’s work , when it comes to other issues beyond the council those are other issues.”
Bowen said she continues to conduct her duties at the Linden Town Council in accordance with the Municipal and Districts Council Act, Chapter 28:01. ” I am very keen as it relates to how things are done based on the law, there are times when questions maybe asked or there is need to do a specific kind of work or for a procedure to follow and I’m very careful even if we have things that are seen as emergencies that we try as best we can to not forsake accuracy for speed,” she reasoned.
She said this was discussed with the Council and the Mayor because for her,” at the end of the day the only thing that stands, is the law.”
As it relates to the two No Confidence Motions moved against her both in the past and present council, the Town Clerk said the reasons for these motions were not the same as is being suggested by the New Council.
She is maintaining that there were procedural irregularities with the moving of the present No- Confidence Motion since it was not done in accordance with the Municipal and Districts Council Act Chapter 28:01 Section 8.
Bowen said she will not make any speculations as it relates to the Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan’s response to the No Confidence Motion against her, noting that she has also sent a correspondence to the Minister highlighting that the premises used to forward the motion are baseless.
One such premise is that the minutes are often late and do not accurately state what transpired at the statutory meetings. To this, Bowen said the Mayor and other councillors are knowledgeable that there is one malfunctioning computer that serves the entire council, added to that at the proceeding meetings, councillors are given the opportunity to object and make clarifications.
Bowen said too that she was sent on administrative leave, locked out of the Council and personally escorted out of the Town Council by the Deputy Mayor, however, she is maintaining that only the Communities Minister has the power to send her on leave, so she remains on duty.
She is awaiting the Minister’s response.