Linden Town Clerk saga
– plans to write Minister of State
Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice ) Chairman Renis Morian has accused Permanent Secretary (PS) within the Communities Ministry, Emil McGarrell, of creating confusion within the region, based on alleged advice to the Linden Mayor and Town Council (LM&TC) regarding its Town Clerk Jonellor Bowen. Bowen was recently reinstated after being sent on administrative leave to facilitate an investigation. During the statutory meeting of the Council, Morian told Councillors of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) that he will write Minister of State Joseph Harmon regarding the situation. The Regional Chairman alleged that the PS has advised that the Town Clerk be reinstated while at the same time, is advising the Council to “move another No-Confidence Motion,” noting that this is what he has an issue with. Quoting from the March 2 edition of a daily newspapers which he used as a reference, Morian said the PS is “blowing hot and blowing cold”.
“My problem is that we have a Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communities that’s blowing hot and blowing cold and creating more confusion… on one breath you said let her go back,” Morian stated, noting further that, “The Permanently Secretary, McGarrell also advised the Council to move another no-confidence motion.” As such, he said this is confusing the region. Morian went on to state that he finds that the actions of the PS not conducive to peace and tranquility in the region.
He went on to state that the PS has exonerated himself and the LM&TC is left in confusion.
Morian said that the time has come for the Council work along with the RDC, as he stated that the back and forth is causing confusion and division.
“We’ve been talking about autonomy for the regions and I also am saying to the Council, they need to work with big brother in the RDC so they could get the coverage, because no PS could tell me as Regional Chairman to take back anybody… when as a Council we would have agreed to one course of action because the Council manages the agency,” he said.
Councillors of the municipality had passed a no-confidence motion against Bowen on July 27, 2016, and she was sent on administrative leave in October, following a commission of inquiry into alleged wrongdoings within the Council. The commission of inquiry which released its findings a few weeks ago, however, found that the Motion brought against the Town Clerk was “in contravention with the procedures set out in Section 8 of Chapter 28:01 of the Municipal and District Councils Act of the Laws of Guyana and was also in contravention of the Standing Order rules under Section 9.”
The PS had written to the municipality in a letter dated January 26, 2017 advising the Council to reinstate Bowen. McGarrell noted in the letter that arising from the findings of the committee, the Ministry is not in a position to endorse the No-Confidence Motion as it currently stands due to its procedural irregularities. He further advised that the Town Clerk shall be called upon to resume her functions as Town Clerk forthwith. In the letter, the PS had also advised that where the Council finds that there is a continued lack of confidence in the Town Clerk’s performance thereafter, that it should take the necessary steps to familiarise itself with the proper procedure to be followed for making a no-confidence motion and proceed accordingly.