Town Clerk Royston King to be sent on leave ahead of Commission of Inquiry

Last Updated on Monday, 17 September 2018, 5:55 by Denis Chabrol

FLASH BACK: Georgetown Town Clerk, Royston King engages with the press corps outside City Hall.

Less than two months  before Guyanese go to the polls in Local Government Elections, the Town Clerk Royston King is expected to be sent on leave to pave the way for a Commission of Inquiry into the operations of City Hall, sources said.

The Local Government Commission, in  a section of the media, says public hearings into the operations of the municipality will begin on September  24, 2018 at Critchlow Labour College, Woolford Avenue, Georgetown. Deadline for the submission of statements is September 21, but persons are free to call or visit the secretariat from September 17. Local Government Elections are slated for November 12.

The sources said the inquiry is to be conducted into the municipality’s operations following a series of complaints by ordinary citizens and businessmen.

Retired Justice Cecil Kennard is expected to conduct the inquiry.

The Commission of Inquiry will be held in keeping with the Local Government Commission Act, the Municipal and District Councils Act and Guyana’s Constitution.

King’s governance of the municipality has come under intense scrutiny ever since he succeeded Carol Sooba, partly due to poor garbage collection, late payment of staff, and failure to pay over stated  salary deductions of social security and income tax to the National Insurance Scheme and the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA).

The dislocation and treatment of vendors at Stabroek and Bourda Markets by City Hall has also seen the APNU+AFC coalition-led administration coming under severe criticism in the way that its supporters had been treated.

Among the controversial projects that had put City Hall and Central government in a  dim light had been the introduction of metered parking by the Municipality and the little known Smart City Solutions company. Following weeks of protest and a number of High Court actions, one of whose decisions is pending, a Cabinet sub-committee has been tasked with reviewing the deal before the Local Government Minister signs the commencement order for council-approved revised by-laws can take effect.

The Alliance For Change (AFC) component of the coalition had openly sided with the Movement Against Parking Meters in calling for the contract to be withdrawn.