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High Court temporarily blocks King from Town Clerkship; Mayor ordered to show cause for actions

FLASH BACK: Peoples Progressive Party Civic Councillor, Kamla Devi-Ross giving Acting Town Clerk, Carol Sooba to place in front of Royston King who was seated in the Town Clerk’s chair in the City Hall Chamber.

Acting Town Clerk, Carol Ryan-Sooba on Wednesday secured several orders against City Mayor Hamilton Green and Royston King, temporarily blocking him from preventing her from performing the duties as the most senior municipal administrator of the Georgetown Municipality.

Attorney General, Anil Nandlall said Chief Justice, Ian Chang granted eight orders that effectively puts on hold the removal of Sooba as Acting Town Clerk and swearing in Royston King.

“In effect, they have put on hold all  charade and masquerade that are going on at the City Hall,” he told Demerara Waves Online News. Nandlall explained that in the interim, the Chief Justice’s previous judgment that she is to perform the functions of Town Clerk de facto prevails in essence.

The matter has been adjourned to May 22 at 1:30 PM before the Chief Justice.

Among the temporary orders is one restraining or prohibiting Royston King “from usurping  the  Office  of  Town  Clerk  of the  City  of  Georgetown”  “and  or  from  entering  upon  the  said  Office  and  or  discharging  or  further  discharging  any  of  the powers,  functions  and  duties  of  the  aforesaid  Office  of  Town Clerk “without  lawful  authority  whatsoever,  appointment  and  or  in  furtherance  of  the elections and or appointment” by Green.

The Chief Justice ordered the Mayor to show cause on the ground and reason to swear King into the Office of Town Clerk is “unlawful, ultra  vires,  irrational, unreasonable, wholly  in  excess  of  jurisdiction, unreasonable,  null,  void  and  of  no  legal  effect”.

Green, a former Prime Minister of Guyana up to 1992, also has to explain the rationale for deciding in a letter dated May 7,2014 that Sooba should immediately cease to perform  the  functions  of  Town  Clerk.

The Mayor is also being asked to show the Court why he should not be prohibited or prevented from acting on the decision of the Extra  Ordinary  Statutory  Meeting  held  on  the  8th  day  of  May,  2014,   or  any  other  decision  whatsoever  and  whenever   to  send  Sooba  on  Administrative  Leave and that she should with  immediate  effect  no  longer  perform  the  functions  of  Town  Clerk,

The Court has also asked the Mayor and Councilors to show why they should not be  prohibited and  or  prevented  from  the  decision  taken  at  an  Extra  Ordinary  Statutory  Meeting  held  on  the  8th  day  of  May,  2014, or  any  other  decision  whatsoever  and  whenever to appoint  and  install  King  as  the  Officer  to  perform  the duties of  Town  Clerk.

This latest Court action stems from a tussle on Monday between King and Sooba over who is the duly appointed Town Clerk.  Using a section of a previous High Court ruling to his advantage that it is a Local Government Commission rather than the Local Government Minister who is empowered to appoint a Town Clerk, Green and the Councilors last week at an extraordinary council meeting appointed King until the commission is appointed by the National Assembly.