City Engineer remains on the job despite motion for his dismissal; seeking legal advice
By Shikema Dey
City Engineer Colvern Venture does not plan to leave his post without a fight and is in discussion with his attorney to determine the legality of a motion passed on Monday seeking his immediate dismissal.
The motion, heard at the APNU+AFC controlled Georgetown Mayor and City Council’s first statutory meeting for 2022 was widely sponsored and supported by the coalition councillors; the PPP/C councillors did not support it.
During an interview with the News Room on Tuesday at City Hall, Venture proffered a legal argument as to why the motion has no legal basis.
He pointed to Chapter 28:01 of the Municipal and District Councils Act where Standing Orders for the council are outlined. And those Standing Orders, according to him, make no provision for such a motion to be moved.
“There is nothing within the 33 Standing Orders that mention a motion of confidence and no confidence against officers, so the aspect of the motion in itself, I will have to seek further clarity and legal advice as to how it was used by the council and whether it was legal,” Venture contended.
The motion to terminate the services of Venture was tabled by two APNU+AFC councillors, Heston Bostwick and Clayton Hinds, on December 7, 2021.
And it seemed to fall in line with the ongoing feud between Venture and the Mayor, Ubraj Narine.
“In my professional view, I believe that the use of the motion…is a political tool used by the Mayor and a clique of his councillors to remove officers,” Venture told the News Room.
In the motion, the councillors stated that the engineer has been performing poorly and brought the work of the council into public disrepute, hence the call for his immediate dismissal.
But in this case, the City Engineer explained that there is a clearly outlined process to be followed if there were concerns about his performance.
“It has been used by the council and councils before us, many years ago to deal with the aspect of work performance of workers, the aspect of natural justice along with rewards and sanctions for officers,” he explained.
“It is an administrative process that I know this council would be using to address promotions, remunerations for workers; so I find it strange that a motion is being used to remove officers,” he said.
Meanwhile, attempts have been made before to remove Venture from his post however, he managed to prevent these after he resorted to the courts.
Venture and the Mayor Narine have been at odds since last year; it was even alleged through his attorney Ronald Burch- Smith that some members of the M&CC may have personal issues with him which may have prompted the motion.
The Engineer in a statement issued last December had accused the M&CC of not providing the City Engineer’s department with the necessary resources to complete their works around the city.