By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Chief Justice Ian Chang in a ruling on Wednesday, May 14 deemed the appointment of Public Relations Officer of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council Royston King as City Town Clerk by Mayor Hamilton Green as illegal.
Chang’s ruling was in response to an application filed on May 13 and which was heard today.
In his ruling, the CJ said that unless cause is shown and/or reason is provided for the appointment of King then the move is unlawful, ultra vires, irrational, unreasonable, wholly in excess of jurisdiction, unreasonable, null, void and of no legal effect.
This in effect prevents King from performing any duties as Town Clerk.
Green recently swore King in as Town Clerk in a bid to get rid of the Town Clerk (ag) Carol Sooba, whose appointment was also squashed by the CJ.
Chang said for the Mayor to decide that Sooba should no longer perform the functions of Town Clerk, or send her on administrative leave is also unlawful. The matter has been adjourned to the May 22.
The application was filed by Sooba through her Attorney-at-Law Roysdale A. Forde. There was much uproar at the meeting at City Hall on Monday, May 12 when both Sooba and King attempted to preside over a meeting, both as Town Clerks.
The High Court has ruled that the Local Government Minister could not appoint a Town Clerk because that is a function of the yet to be established Local Government Commission.
However, the Mayor and some Councillors believe Sooba is unqualified for the post of Town Clerk and should resign.
Sooba maintains that she is competent and with the support of the government, has stood her ground.
And why has no one questioned how Soon a could have served as Legal Officer at City Hall before becoming Town Clerk, even though she does not have a law degree or been trained as a lawyer? The PPP and Sooba are two peas in a cup.
If the CJ says the LG Minister cannot appoint Sooba as Town Clerk and the Mayor and Councilors cannot appoint King as Town Clerk, then it is unjust and unfair for the CJ to let Sooba remain in the post in the name of ensuring the TC’s duties are not disrupted.
The Court should either make an interim appointment or allow Sooba’s predecessor, Yonette Pluck, be reinstated, because if the LG Minister cannot appoint a Town Clerk, he certainly cannot fire one. Ms. Pluck’s termination was illegal, regardless of what alleged, but unproven financial irregularities the corrupt PPP regime says she is guilty of.
If Ms. Pluck does not want the job, her deputy should be offered it. If the deputy does not want it, then let the court or City Hall find an interim replacement. Chang needs a legal advisor?
, as a layman I would say that this ruling by the Chief Justice (ag) need to be taken to the CCJ, his first ruling states that the minister cannot appoint the Town Clerk,, now it has been done it is legal. If it is a requirement that the LG Commission be established to perform that function then that should ve been his advice to the Govt, wrong is wrong, even if dress up it still wrong. Mr Granger cannot be more right when he says that selection to the office of CJ must be advertised.