City Hall CoI: Bulkan says it is the responsibility of the Local Govt Commission to act

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Embattled Town Clerk, Royston King

Communities Minister Ronald Bulkan has confirmed he is in receipt of the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) Commission of Inquiry (CoI) report that looked into City Hall’s operations.

He was at the time responding to questions posed by the Opposition in the National Assembly as the Budget estimate and considerations continued.

Bulkan told the House he is waiting on the Commission to explain how it plans to deal with the recommendations in the CoI. Questioned by Opposition Member of Parliament Nigel Dharamlall, Bulkan affirmed that his Ministry will not be a hindrance to the Commission’s recommendations.

“It is the responsibility of the Local Government Commission to act on the recommendations so I don’t propose that the Ministry will be a hindrance in that process,” the Minister explained.

The LGC is still to determine how it will deal with the recommendations in the CoI which includes disciplinary actions against Town Clerk Royston King and other senior members.

Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan

On December 1, 2018, Chairman of the CoI, Justice Kennard who had been accompanied by legal clerk, Sherwin Benjamin explained then that criminal charges can be instituted, since King leased lands which are owned by the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL).

NICIL had provided statements to the Commission via its in-house Attorney, Arianne McLean, which would have detailed that the property was acquired by NICIL in 2002. The Guyana National Engineering Corporation (GNEC) would have vested all of its assets in NICIL and NICIL became the lawful owner of the property. However, King leased the land to a shipping company, which made “questionable” payments.

Acting Town Clerk Sharon Harry-Munroe, Internal Auditor Omadeily Newton, City Constable Andrew Foo, and Human Resources Manager Paula Braithwaite are also to be disciplined for complete incompetence and dereliction of duty.

The City Engineer’s Department was under scrutiny for time lapses for plans to be approved, a process that should have taken weeks if all documents were submitted.

File: (Retd) Justice Cecil Kennard taking the oath of office

Meanwhile, it was recommended that City Treasurer, Ron Mc Almont, who has been on leave since commencement of this year, proceed on retirement.

The report also called for the Audit Office of Guyana to conduct a forensic audit into the council’s management even as officers are being disciplined.

The CoI began on September 22, 2018, and held 15 sittings in which 50 persons had testified. The hearings were completed on November 2, 2018. The Local Government Election (LGE) was held on November 12, 2018 and it saw then Mayor Patricia Chase Green being replaced as Georgetown’s first citizen.

 

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