Central government has blocked the Georgetown City Council from using open spaces in the City for business or housing purposes, in the wake of a High Court ruling that outlaws such activities.
Minister responsible for Local Government, Ronald Bulkan said the David Granger-led administration expects that local government councils should instead “maintain and improve such areas for the benefit of all residents and citizens within the confines of their intended purpose”.
“I inform you further, that the undertaking by the Council to convert green spaces in residential areas into housing or other commercial ventures does not find favor with central government,” said Bulkan in a letter dated January 22, 2018 to City Mayor Patricia Chase-Green and copied to Town Clerk, Royston King.
Significantlty, the letter was not only copied to all councillors but also the General Secretary of the People’s National Congress Reform, Amna Ally and Vice Chairman of that party, Volda Lawrence. The PNCR is the largest party in A Partnership for National Unity.
The Minister in a less than veiled manner instructed the Mayor to temporarily prohibit the conversion or use of green spaces other than which they have been designated for.
Recently, High Court Judge, Gino Persaud upheld requests by plaintiffs that the Bel Air Park playground not be used for the construction of Town Houses for the Mayor, Town Clerk and other officials.
The Minister also instructed the Mayor of Georgetown to ensure that no undertaking is given without the involvement of the constituency representative.
Bulkan further ordered the Mayor to ensure that no undertaking is placed on the Council’s agenda without the agreement of the constituency representative or in the absence of such an agreement a majority decision by the elected body. “In the absence of such agreement, it is expected that for a matter to be comsidered and discussed by council, no fewer than two-thirds of the number of councillors should consent to having the matter placed on the agenda,” he said.
Former Deputy Mayor Sherod Duncan has since called on Mayor Chase-Green to “resign immediately”.
“We cannot re-elect this Mayor in March. She has done nothing to deserve the confidence of our vote. And, the Town Clerk bumbles from one degree ineptitude to the next. The people of Georgetown must be relieved of this combined burden. They must go,” Duncan said.
Mayoral elections among City Councillors are due to be held in March.