…Duncan says ‘local democracy slapped in its face’, will be seeking legal advice
By Ramona Luthi
Mayor of Georgetown, Patricia Chase-Green on Monday afternoon during City Hall’s statutory meeting disallowed a “vote of no-confidence in Town Clerk” motion which was scheduled to be tabled in the meeting.
Her decision came as result of legal advice sought and presented to the Council by Town Clerk, Royston King.
The legal advice which was not on the agenda, was read before the “no-confidence” motion –which was raised by Councillor Sherod Duncan and seconded by Deputy Mayor, Lionel Jaikarran- was even presented to the Council.
The media heard, that according to the document which was drafted by Former Magistrate, Maxwell E. Edwards, the “motion, if passed in its present form would be otiose, nugatory, incompetent, and effectual and of no legal effect (an exercise in vain)” for a number of reasons.
One such reason is because according to the law, “a Town Clerk cannot be disciplined by the City Council, but only by the Local Government Commission of the LGCA [Local Government’s Commission Act] which by Ministerial Order (as gazetted) became operations on 23 October 2017.”
As such, the legal advice recommended that Duncan “amends his motion by removing the “vote of no-confidence” wording” and for him to allow another Councillor to move for an amendment.
However, when the Mayor asked Duncan if he would be willing to amend his motion, the Councillor responded promptly, and plainly stated “let me make it clear what my decision is, I will not change a line, a word, a full stop. I will not amend any of it. I will not amend it.”
However, Chase-Green continued in her attempt in obvious persuasion, and asked Duncan for a second time, if he would amend his motion so as to allow an in dept discussion on the matter at the level of the Council.
The lone response she received from the Councillor was silence.
As such, the Mayor announced that the motion will not be allowed to be tabled at the meeting.
“…I so rule, that the motion, in its original form not be allowed to be tabled at the Statutory meeting,” she said.
Following her ruling, Duncan expressed annoyance at the fact that the legal advice- which was given by the husband of a Council member- was heard before his motion was even tabled in Council.
“I find that very surprising that a legal advice will be accepted by the husband of a sitting Councillor on a motion that has not been heard, was placed on the agenda, but the legal advice was heard first, to shut down the motion. I find that very bizarre and it’s a slap in the face of local democracy,” he told the media.
He also explained that his “no confidence” motion did not call for disciplinary action to be taken against the Town Clerk.
“A “no-confidence” motion is what it says. You have no confidence in the Town Clerk. The motion never called for his dismissal. Never called for his suspension. It is plainly stated that you have no confidence because of his performance on the job,” he said while noting that had the motion been passed, then it would have been forwarded to the Local Government Commission, for them to look at.
Nevertheless, Duncan asserted that his next step will be to seek legal advice.
“My next move is to seek legal advice in the matter.”