M&CC moves to court to remove acting Town Clerk

Mayor Ubraj Narine and Town Clerk (ag) Candace Nelson

The Mayor and City Councillors (M&CC) of the municipality of Georgetown are challenging the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) appointment of Candace Nelson as acting Town Clerk, and in the meantime are seeking an order suspending her appointment until the court pronounces on its lawfulness.

In legal proceedings instituted by the Town Clerk against the LGC, it is being contended that Nelson “is acting without proper authority,” and will continue to disrupt the smooth and efficient functioning of the Council.

The application which is seeking to have Nelson removed from the post cites her for taking disruptive actions which pose serious ongoing and continuing breaches that compromise the sanctity of the Council’s operations.

It further accuses her of influencing the records of the M&CC’s statutory meetings by deleting matters from minutes of meetings and seeking to dictate the contents of the agenda of later meetings.
According to the court document seen by this publication, Nelson suspended a tendering process that began months before her appointment and has potentially compromised the ability of the M&CC to honour its contractual and other financial obligations.

She is being accused of failing to facilitate a proper handover of the M&CC assets. The Town Clerk stated that unless Nelson is removed, she will further disrupt the Council’s business. The matter has been fixed for hearing before Chief Justice Roxane George, SC.

Nelson was appointed after the LGC wrote to then acting Town Clerk Sherry Jerrick and instructed her to return to her substantive position of Assistant Town Clerk effective from July 28. Chairman of the LGC, Julius Faerber had recently said that the decision to remove Jerrick was a unanimous one.
“That decision was unanimously voted in favour of, and when I said unanimously, there were seven Commissioners who were present at that time, and all seven of them voted in favour of having Ms Jerrick return to her substantive position. That was the situation that occurred,” he had told a news conference.

According to him, the decision to appoint Nelson is in keeping with the authority vested in the Local Government Commission under Sections 12 and 13 of the Local Government Commission Act.
Specifically, he pointed to Section 13 (2) which states: “The Commission shall have the power to deal with all matters relating to the staffing of Local Government organs, and in particular shall be responsible for employment, transfer, discipline, and dismissal of staff.”

At the Council’s most recent statutory meeting held at the Kitty Market in Georgetown, Mayor Ubraj Narine and Councillors protested the appointment of Nelson and also demanded that she leave the meeting. However, Nelson, who was served with a copy of the court documents challenging her appointment, did not budge. As a result, the meeting was adjourned to next Monday.