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Town Clerk comes under spotlight for multi-million dollar City works without contracts

City Mayor, Patricia Chase-Green and Town Clerk, Royston King.

Town Clerk Royston King was Friday upbraided for merely having verbal agreements with a number of private contracting companies instead of written contracts for multi-million dollar works

Among them is a deal with XL Engineering or GYD$150 million on the basis of a verbal agreement, he told the Commission of Inquiry into operations of the Mayor and City Council, among himself, the contractor, the then Chairman of the Finance Committee. Junior Garrett and the City Treasurer, Ron Mc Almont.

King said there contracts were “in writing but not in the form of a contract”.

The fact that similar agreements had been also made with La Rose Engineering and SANDIP waste disposal services for the provision of services to the City did not go down well with Commissioner of Inquiry, Retired Justice Cecil Kennard.

Kennard appeared taken aback that payments were made in the absence of a contract but only on the basis of assessments by the City Engineers’ Department of works done so far and requests for payments of an initial payments of work done so far.

He said that opened the door to possible corruption. “That is a loose way of doing business, Mr. King so if a fraud is to be detected we would have sufficient documents… and it creates suspicion that if payment is made at the request of the contractor and assessment by the City Engineer, it wouldn’t sort of create the impression that something is wrong there if the procedure is not followed,” he said.

Kennard, a retired Chancellor of the Judiciary, highlighted that Chairman of the Finance Committee, Oscar Clarke had told the inquiry in his testimony that there must be a contract as a source document. “In this case, the source document is a word-of-mouth arrangement”.

In several instances, King said he did not know or was not aware of whether payments had been made, the contract sums and the extent of certain works.

Some of the monies were provided by the Ministry of Communities to fund the clean-up of several areas of Georgetown.