City Town Clerk seeks legal recourse after claiming abuse; Mayor frustrated
The feud between the Town Clerk (ag) Candace Nelson and the Georgetown Mayor and City Council continues to worsen following fresh allegations from Nelson that she is constantly verbally abused at statutory meetings.
Nelson has directly accused the Mayor of Georgetown Ubraj Narine and the Councillors, but the Mayor told the News Room on Thursday that the Town Clerk is speaking untruths. He too expressed frustration at working with Nelson and levelled his own accusations against her.
During a press conference at City Hall on Thursday, Nelson claimed that she has been facing a barrage of insults and criticisms at council meetings.
“Ever since my appointment earlier this year in July 2021, I have been enduring intense pressure and persecution from His Worship and a clique of councillors. They have managed to create a very negative and hostile work environment. It is not only affecting the general and specific operations but systems of the council to deliver vital municipal services to citizens,” Nelson told the press.
She alleged that she was called a “PPP puppet” and “stupid” at statutory meetings.
“I am consistently humiliated, at those meetings, in many other ways. It is so bad that on occasions, I have had cause to ask for the protection of the chair – the Mayor. My requests have been largely ignored,” Nelson stated.
The Town Clerk said she has since sought legal advice and intends to raise her concerns with the relevant authorities by the end of November.
According to Nelson, she is ready and willing to work with the Mayor and Councillors to serve the citizens of Georgetown.
“I am here to work and perform the duties of a town clerk and to serve the citizens of Georgetown, however, when there is a constant battle within the organisation it will affect your performance,” Nelson explained.
Nelson further alleged that she is being instructed to execute “troubling, unreasonable and ultra vires decisions” by the Mayor and Town Council.
She did not expound on these decisions but claimed that the council is involved in “imprudent spending, double-dealing and lack of consistency.”
She referenced a $600,000 payment for an attorney-at-law who wrote a letter for the former Town Clerk Sherry Jerrick to the Local Government Commission.
“When the matter was brought to my attention, I expressed profound concern at what appears to be imprudent spending. Further, I wrote the Mayor and explained that while I have no difficulty with lawyers charging their fees for their work, the sum in question does appear to be exorbitant,” Nelson stated.
She said the council owes the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), the National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and the Guyana Water Incorporated (GWI) in excess of $1 billion.
According to Nelson, the council is also struggling to sustain basic services such as garbage collection, maternal and child welfare, public health and environmental services, and the maintenance of cemeteries.
“…but the mayor is insisting with great urgency, that I pay this money- $600, 000 for a single letter,” Nelson said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Narine in response to these allegations said they are simply not true.
“Those things are untrue, I cannot recall of any such and if anyone come to the council meetings at which the media does be – those things are in the public domain,” the Mayor told the News Room.
He accused Nelson of being disrespectful to the councillors during statutory meetings because she reportedly refers to them as “guys”.
“We cannot and will not abuse the Town Clerk or any other officer,” Mayor Narine emphasised.
The Mayor also debunked that he instructed the Town Clerk to execute anything unlawful.
“The council is the highest forum in the city, the highest authority and the council by votes make decisions and the Town Clerk ought to execute those decisions.”
In relation to the payment for the attorney, who according to the Mayor, served as the Legal Officer of the Council, the payment was approved by the Council, however, the Town Clerk has refused to execute the payment.
When asked if anything can be done to remedy the burning issues between the council and the Town Clerk, Mayor Narine said: “The Town Clerk lack of experience and she don’t know the administrative duties of the City Council and I believe she is not ready for that work, me and the Council ready to work with her but she is not willing.