Clash between City Engineer, M&CC obstructing works in Georgetown
Proper planning for the rainy season and other much-needed works in the capital city, Georgetown, is being obstructed by a clash between the City Engineer Colvern Venture and the Mayor and City Council (M&CC).
Two councillors, Heston Bostwick and Clayton Hinds, have tabled a motion calling for the removal of Venture, stating that the engineer has been performing poorly and brought the work of the council into public disrepute.
In response, however, Venture, through his lawyer Ronald Burch- Smith, has alleged that some members of the M&CC may have personal issues with him. These issues, he contended, may have prompted the motion.
Venture also accused the M&CC of not providing the City Engineer’s department with the necessary resources to complete their works around the city.
“Currently, my department is operating with one tractor and trailer to address all the issues of drainage, transporting of materials, workers and other allied works within the city.
“Therefore, one must ask the question, how can a Department or the Council as a whole function effectively under these circumstances?” Venture stated in a press statement disseminated on Wednesday night.
Previously, Venture also claimed that Georgetown Mayor Ubraj Narine seems bent on replacing him with someone more favourable to him, causing Venture to even write to the Local Government Commission (LGC) to lodge a complaint.
The Mayor, on the other hand, had protested the inefficiency of the Engineer’s Department on several occasions which saw very poor services being offered to the public.
On Thursday, the Mayor told the News Room via a telephone interview that he only wrote to the Town Clerk and asked her to place the motion submitted on the Council’s agenda. But he maintained that the City Engineer has not been carrying out his duties effectively.
Narine said that the City Engineer was asked to submit a list of his needs so that those needs could be requested from various agencies but no such list was submitted.
And so, Narine contended that Venture has been unable to provide quality services to the people of Georgetown.
“… Look at our roads, look at the drainage system… no proper plan,” Narine said, commenting on the work of Venture.
Furthermore, with heavy rainfall threatening to flood the city, the Mayor said that he asked the City Engineer’s department for a plan to counter flooding.
To date, the Mayor said that he has not seen any such plan. But, he did acknowledge that he saw Venture talk up his plans for the rainy season in an article published by the News Room.
The motion for the removal of Venture was scheduled for discussion on December 20 but has since been deferred to December 28.
The motion states: “… the Council hereby recommend the termination of service of the City Engineer Mr Colvern Venture in the public interest, said termination shall take effect immediately and he shall be paid all benefits due and payable to him including one month’s pay in lieu of notice.”
CONTEMPT OF COURT?
But Venture’s lawyer warned the M&CC that no approval or permission from the Local Government Commission has been granted for the motion.
As such, the lawyer said that any effort purporting to terminate Venture will be in contempt of court, subject to a fine and imprisonment for up to three months.
The City Mayor, however, disagrees.
“… The two councillors had submitted that motion and it is my duty to write to the Town Clerk and have her place it on the agenda.
“…Whenever you wanted to dismiss any employee of the council, you have to go in the right way and the motion [is recommended] to the Local Government Commission,” Narine explained.
Only if the motion is carried then the Town Clerk will write the LGC informing the Commission of the motion and the arguments brought against Venture, Narine explained.