Local Govt Commission refutes false reports about its oversight of government organs

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The Local Government Commission (LGC) has taken note of a series of false representations being made in the public domain regarding its role in overseeing the work of the local government organs in the country and, more specifically, in regulating the administrative affairs of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown. The Commission, therefore, welcomes this opportunity to clarify the following misrepresentations:

  1. Ms. Sherry Jerrick was appointed on July 29, 2019, by the LGC to act as Town Clerk of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown. This acting appointment was a non-permanent one and for an unspecified period. No expressed or implied representations were made on behalf of the LGC to Ms. Jerrick that this acting appointment should be interpreted as a prelude to permanently occupying such a position.
  2. Due to concerns related to the performance of her duties as Town Clerk (acting), a decision was taken at the level of the LGC that the work of the Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown would be best served by Ms. Jerrick reverting to her substantive position of Assistant Town Clerk. This decision enjoyed the unanimous support of all seven (7) Commissioners present at the Commission’s 5th Statutory Meeting held on Tuesday, July

27, 2021. This unanimous decision was binding upon the Commission. As such, it was empowered to take all necessary action to give effect to the Commissioners’ decision, including appointing a successor to Ms. Jerrick since the critical position of Town Clerk could not remain vacant.

  1. Furthermore, this unanimous decision of the LGC is consistent with the powers ascribed to it by section 13 of the Local Government Commission Act, No. 18 of 2013, which clearly vests the LGC as the sole entity in Guyana with the power to deal with all matters relating to the regulation and staffing of local government organs, which includes the Mayor and Council of the City of Georgetown. Consequentially, the decision of the LGC to appoint Ms. Candace Nelson to act as Town Clerk constitutes a valid exercise of its statutory functions through the same process employed by the LGC in the past to appoint successive acting Town Clerks, including Ms. Jerrick herself.

The LGC wishes to emphasise that all of its decisions regarding the regulation and management of the local government organs in Guyana are made at the level of its Commission which comprises eight individuals appointed by the President based on nominations tendered by both sides of the political sphere. These Commissioners are dedicated professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge and integrity to the Commission as they perform their duties in a transparent and fully independent manner as is required by Section 3 (2) of the Local Government Commission Act,

which prohibits the Commission from receiving directions on the exercise of its functions from any external body.

The course of action embarked upon by the Mayor, His Worship Ubraj Narine, in deliberately peddling demonstrably false and misleading statements in the public domain must be viewed as an attempt to discredit the work of the eight Commissioners of the LGC and to bring the Commission into disrepute. The LGC wishes to reiterate that it has always executed and continues to exercise its mandate within the confines of the relevant legislative framework. It continues to do so even as this matter is currently engaging the courts. As such, the Commission has taken the decision to respect the jurisdiction of the courts and not litigate these issues in the public domain. Nevertheless, until a court of competent jurisdiction has issued a formal pronouncement on these issues, the Local Government Commission will continue to perform its legal mandate and work with those persons who are desirous of improving the local government system in Guyana.

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