‘Can you shut up’? – COI Chairman to Mayor Chase-Green
By Bibi Khatoon
Tempers flared Friday when Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green testified at the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into City Hall and was hammered by the Chairman, Justice Cecil Kennard for the way she handled a No-Confidence motion that was brought against Town Clerk, Royston King.
As a matter of fact, Justice Kennard told the Mayor to shut up and to keep her attitude in check.
The argument started at the Critchlow Labour College when the Mayor told the Chairman that she did not appreciate the questions by the lawyers representing the Commission and instead, asked the lawyers a question.
“Don’t attempt to be rude…take that sort of attitude to City Hall, not here,” Justice Kennard said to Mayor Green.
The Mayor attempted to say she was not being rude: “I am not attempting to be rude and I will not be rude in here…” but she had no time to complete her statement as Justice Kennard said: “Can you shut up?”
“Well then I will not be able to answer questions,” the Mayor retorted, visibly upset.
At the time, the Mayor was being questioned about her role at City Hall and her influence at the council meetings.
Mayor Green turned up at the COI with her two lawyers, Lyndon Amsterdam and Latoya Roberts and nervously took the stand to answer questions relating to the No-Confidence motion.
In March, Alliance For Change (AFC) Councillor, Sherod Duncan moved the motion at a council meeting, alleging several cases of mismanagement of funds and disregard for the law.
The Mayor had rendered the motion inadmissible, citing the legal advice of former Magistrate, Maxwell Edwards to guide her decision.
It must be noted that the legal advice was personally sought and obtained by the Town Clerk himself after he received the motion to place it on the day’s order paper.
But the COI Chairman chided the Mayor for her actions and noted that if she had dealt with the motion in March, then there would not have been the need for a COI.
“Councillor Duncan was making serious allegations against the Town Clerk and you’re going to act on his [Royston King] advice?” Justice Kennard questioned.
The Mayor argued that “the Town Clerk is there to advise the council.”
Visibly upset, Justice Kennard said: “the Town Clerk should have recused himself from any participation, proceeding or at the meeting…this is not a normal case…he is the suspect –so to speak –in this case.”
Justice Kennard said he cannot begin to imagine why the council acted the way it did.
The Mayor’s Lawyer sought to argue that the laws governing the council do not cater for a case in which the Town Clerk is implicated, thereby leaving the Mayor with no other option.
Bu this did not sway Justice Kennard, who maintained that the Mayor should have sought independent legal advice.
“It’s like trying the devil’s case in hell,” Justice Kennard said.
“My opinion will be reflected in the final report in relation to this matter,” the COI Chairman further noted.
The Mayor will return to the stand next week.
Chase-Green has been a councillor with the city since 1994 and became Mayor following the 2016 Local Government Elections.
The Town Clerk is slated to appear before the CoI on Monday.
The CoI was given up to October 31st to complete its work but has since asked for an extension.