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Sooba sent on administrative leave to facilitate criminal investigations, …scores congregate to cheer her removal

Town Clerk Carol Sooba standing shortly after her table was removed by officers of the City Constabulary.

by Zena Henry

It took some amount of effort to not only remove the contentious acting Town Clerk, Carol Sooba from the Council Chamber when a majority vote was given for her to go on administrative leave, but some planning was also required to get her out of the compound when more than a hundred passersby congregated outside of the agency to cheer the removal of the City’s Chief Executive Officer.

The agenda for the Mayor and City Council’s Statutory Meeting, Monday May 25, was slated for the activation of one of several motions moved against Sooba by various Councilors over several months.

The former Local Government Minister Norman Whitaker had ensured the positioning of the “unqualified and controversial” CEO, but with the change in government, it seemed more practical to have her vacate her office as she is accused of not working in the interest of the city.

Mayor Hamilton Green told Councilors that in enacting the motion passed on April 27 for Sooba to go on leave, it is instructed that she does so “post-haste.”

However, Sooba was not prepared to do so without a fight. She sat in her chair facing Mayor Green, instructing him that he was “out of order”. By this time, the Chief Constabulary officer was already instructed to, along with his senior officer, have a female rank escort Sooba out of the building.

As the Constabulary officers surrounded her desk, she proceeded to show them that by provisions in the Municipal and District Councils Act, they were to adhere to her orders and not that of the Mayor. Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase Green in citing the said provision was quick to dismiss Sooba’s claim.

Seeming a bit unsure as to the legality of their actions, the female ranks nonetheless proceeded to ask Sooba to get up from her seat. “You are assaulting me when you touch me. Assault me; you want to assault me… I am protesting that I am being assaulted,” Sooba told the ranks as they touched her shoulders asking her to remove.

Some 15 minutes into the back and forth with Councilors and the security ranks, a mature female rank pulled the desk away from Sooba who then got up from her seat. Deputy Town Clerk Sharon Harry was then placed to sit in for Sooba who was escorted to her office to collect her bag.

Sooba was surprised further when she found out that she was not allowed to leave in the Council’s vehicle. She was headed out of the Council’s front gate but quickly turned around when she saw scores of people outside the compound cheering and laughing.

With no body guard, just private chauffeur, she quickly got into a vehicle that was parked inside the compound. The driver refused to use the front, and headed for the back entrance. He was told however that entrance had already been closed off.

It then took some security measures to ensure that the car left safely. Persons clapped their hands, while others cheered and booed and mocked the unpopular Administrator.

Mayor Green said several reports have been made to the Constabulary and the Criminal investigations Department (CID) and it is expected that in-depth investigations will be conducted.

Sooba is accused of waivering millions of dollars for a popular businessman, using public funds in her personal capacity, making unauthorized decisions, arbitrarily reducing or withholding workers’ salaries among other inconsistencies.