[www.inewsguyana.com] – Local Government Minister Norman Whittaker has officially announced his intention to appeal the recent ruling by Chief Justice Ian Chang, squashing Carol Sooba’s appointment as Town Clerk of Georgetown by Former Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud.
Whittaker told iNews (www.inewsguyana.com) in an invited comment that he understands that the Chief Justice has ruled as a disciplined Guyanese and one should accept that ruling but contended that he does not believe the appointment was illegal.
The Minister sent a strong warning to City Mayor Hamilton Green in wake of reports that he was moving to have Sooba replaced by the Assistant Town Clerk. He said it is important to note that the CJ ruled that Sooba remains the de facto Town Clerk and as such will revert to acting in the position until the appeal is complete.
Shadow Local Government Minister Ronald Bulkan had urged Sooba to do what he believes is the honorable thing and demit office in wake of the Court ruling.
Carol Sooba was appointed Town Clerk by Former Local Government Minister Ganga Persaud on December 4, 2013 despite several objections about her lack of qualifications for the post.
Following her appointment, Public Relations Officer of the Mayor and City Council, Royston King moved to the High Court, challenging her appointment. King had also applied for the Town Clerk position.
King was represented by Attorney – at – Law Nigel Hughes. On Friday, April 11, Hughes revealed that the ruling by the Chief Justice is a classic case of “Trojan Horse.”
According to Hughes, the Chief Justice has allowed Sooba to remain in office while he formally declared that the Minister had no power to appoint her.
In explaining the ruling, the Attorney said, “Please note that the Chief Justice has upheld the arbitrary basis on which Ms. Sooba was appointed after she failed to satisfy the Minister’s own criteria. The Chief Justice has in effect protected the Minister’s arbitrary appointment while purporting to rule on an issue which was not raised and on which Counsel for either side were not permitted to address the Court.”
He further noted that, “What will happen now is that the Minister will appeal, the Court of Appeal will allow the appeal based on the Chief Justice’s ruling on a point which the Attorneys were not permitted to address the Court and Sooba will return and or remain in office. It is our intention to appeal those parts of the decision including the upholding of the arbitrary selection of Ms. Sooba as Town Clerk.”
The Chief Justice in his ruling said that the Constitution specifically gives the power to appoint the Town Clerk to a Local Government Service Commission; members of whom shall be appointed by the Prime Minister.