By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Acting Town Clerk of the Georgetown municipality Carol Sooba has reportedly deducted monies from the allowances of several Councillors, triggering unease at City Hall.
In a press release, the affected Councillors expressed disgust at what they described as an unprecedented and unilateral action by Sooba which they collectively detest.
When contacted by iNews, Sooba said that the Councillors were paid whatever they were entitled and advised that all aggrieved persons can seek remedies in Court.
In fact, the Council has already signaled its intention to begin legal proceedings against Sooba to have all monies deducted restored.
“The Mayor and Councillors have repeatedly complained about this action by Ms. Sooba but the Minister of Local Government, Mr. Norman Whittaker, and the Government seems to be supporting this illegal action, by the individual they imposed on the council, as Town Clerk (ag),” the statement from the Council added.
Their contention is that Sooba has no authority under the law to interfere, in any way, with monies already approved for Councillors; claiming her action is unacceptable and illegal.
The Concillors concluded that the situation at City Hall is restive.
But according to Sooba, the law states that the expenses which the allowance caters for [duty, Travel] must be incurred.
She told iNews that many of the Concillors stay away from meetings, do no work but expect to receive monthly allowances; adding that such behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. She said some have stayed away for as many as nine months.
Sooba recalled that there was a time when the Councillors had to present receipts to the council to prove that they spent money before they were paid their allowances.
“This is affecting Councillors―the people’s representatives―from carrying out their functions to citizens, in their local communities. Consequently, citizens are unable to effectively participate, in the management and governance of their neighbourhoods,” Councillors say.
The Mayor and City Council is calling on citizens to take careful note of what is happening in the council and to raise their voices against “this un-lawful action that is inhibiting the work of the Mayor and Councillors.”
“This is happening in face of the fact that Ms. Sooba made a non-priority purchase of a sofa for almost half a million dollars, for her office. This could not be right, fair or just,” the statement pointed out.