When told that Sooba was among several persons who Junior Local Government Minister, Norman Whittaker had said were unqualified for the job during a previous round of applications, Persaud said that Sooba has matured since she began acting in July 2011.
“That’s quite truthful! Nothing has changed. What has changed is that the Ministry has concluded that the position in itself around long enough. We have evaluated these people. Ms. Sooba experience in performing the role of Town Clerk has also grown,” he said.
The Senior Local Government Minister was adamant that the Sooba was the best suited and possessed the “overall competency to perform the duty of Town Clerk.”
At one point of that steamy segment of the news conference, Persaud sought to shut out questions concerning the appointment of Sooba who is not the holder of a Degree in Public Management or any other Social Sciences Degree. He said the job description has a number of elements to be satisfied and Ms. Sooba “is not without academic qualifications.”
Sources said her qualifications are College of Preceptors: English Language, English Literature, Algebra and Arithmetic. General Certificate of Education (GCE) O’Level: English Language, West Indian History and Commerce. Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) General: Social Studies and Office Procedure. She is also the holder of a Certificate in Ordinary Life Insurance and a Certificate in Managerial Law. Her qualifications also include a Computer Certificate in PC/M DOS, Word Perfect and Lotus.
“The Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development is satisfied that Ms. Sooba is the best suited candidate, all being equal, and so we have appointed Ms. Sooba to the position as Town Clerk and so for us that’s full-stop,” said Persaud.
Sources familiar with employment rules in the public service say that the Public Services Rule Manual states that an incumbent to a post is remunerated based on qualifications and so in her case, the Local Government Ministry cannot justify scale without a university qualification.
However, Persaud insisted that “she is qualified and that’s the reason why she was appointed.” When asked what made her qualified, he said “based on our criteria she is qualified for the job.”
The Senior Local Government Minister asked reporters to disclose their source of information that shows that Sooba is unqualified for the post. “We got to stop this nonsense somewhere. We got stop people just running out there and believing that they got licence to point fingers at any everybody and to seek to pull people down,” he said.
The Senior Local Government Minister said he did not receive a letter from the Guyana Local Government Officers Union (GLGOU) issuing a 72-hour ultimatum for her removal from the post.
A five-member interviewing panel had unanimously agreed that Paul Clarke, a well-qualified person with degrees including a Masters, and 20 years experience in management, diplomacy and project execution was the best candidate. Clarke is also a former City Councillor and Foreign Service Officer.
That panel had also included the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Colin Croal.