A no-confidence motion brought against Mayor Hamilton Green failed yesterday after 14 councillors voted against it.
The motion, moved by Councillor Ranwell Jordan resolved to urge the Local Government Minister to instruct the Town Clerk to summon immediate elections for mayor and deputy mayor.
The motion was first moved at the June 14, statutory meeting at City Hall after questions to the mayor about an official trip he made to China were not satisfactorily answered.
At yesterday’s statutory meeting councillors argued heatedly for and against the motion.
Jordan urged his fellow councillors to support the motion stating, “a vote against this motion is a vote against workers of this municipality and citizens of Georgetown.”
Jordan said the id was “prominent” in Green’s leadership and Green has since “eroded democracy and good governance”. He said this was illustrated in the mayor’s response to questions about funding to his trip to China.
Jordan said that the mayor had told the media that it was nobody’s business how the trip was funded. But at a recent press conference, Jordan said, when questioned again, Green said that donations were made by friends who wanted to remain anonymous. And while Jordan admits that this could be possible, he questioned why the mayor did not report it.
The councillor then went on to quote from Chapter 21:08 of the bylaws of the council which states that all monies received by or on behalf of the council shall be delivered to the treasurer who shall deposit them with a bank appointed by resolution by council.
Councillor Junior Garrett, who seconded the motion when it first moved, then rose in support of it. Garrett said the laws must be upheld and adhered to “by all and sundry”. He said the action of the mayor was equal to a criminal act.
“Those funds should have passed through the coffers of the city. [They were] utilised for [someone’s] own benefit…,” Garrett said. “28:01 cannot be changed and we cannot do as we like. No one should be exempt from the laws of this country.”
Further, he said that a vote against the motion “is sending a clear message to taxpayers that we at City Council are lawless”. It also indicates to the staff “that they can do what they want” since the head is doing the same, he added.
In closing, Garrett told his fellow councillors that the time had come to restore the city to its former glory. “History will not forgive you!” he said if the motion was not supported.
In her support of the motion Councillor Patricia Chase-Green said “the time is ripe…we need a change”. She told the mayor, who sat quietly through the address of each councillor, that he should bow out gracefully “than for you to be brought to the depths of a no-confidence motion”.
She added that five years as mayor were more than enough and expressed a hope for the change for the better.
Among other things, whereas clauses in the motion addressed the holding of elections for the position of Mayor but stated that no more than five consecutive years can be served by one Mayor.
Meanwhile, opposing the motion Councillor Oscar Clarke called it “unnecessary” and said it was moved by “selfish objectives and motives”. Clarke said that the laws dictate yearly elections for mayor and deputy mayor but this has been “conveniently disregarded by those who have the authority to do so”.
Clarke told the councillors that they live in a dream world since they demand accountability and transparency but are not prepared to give the same themselves.
Gladstone George who was against the motion also, said: “If this motion is carried there will be total darkness in the city.” He urged his fellow councillors instead to work together to make the council a better place.
And standing by his conviction to “support the mayor right down to the end”, Councillor Hector Stoute told the council that a motion should be moved against the councillors instead since “we have failed tremendously” in the service they should be providing to the city.
Deputy Mayor Robert Williams and Councillor Eon Andrews remained neutral. Williams said a no-confidence vote is in essence a no- confidence vote in the council since the council was in charge. He pointed out that the mayor is merely the chairman of the council.
Williams called for the removal of the no-confidence motion but asked that the resolve to approach the Local Government Minister stay the same.
Andrews meanwhile refused to take a side but suggested that some persons seemed obsessed with personal issues before he suggested a secret ballot which was strongly opposed.
Responding, Green said: “All indications are that this exercise is propelled by a certain amount of selfish silliness which we must not get accustomed to.” To Jordan’s statements, Green said he never said it was nobody’s business when he was questioned.
Jordan interrupted saying that he heard the mayor say it on the television.
“I made it clear that because of the urgency… I took the initiative to organise facilitations. Not one cheque came into my pocket in this visit,” the mayor responded.
Green called yesterday’s proceedings “unfortunate” adding that the movers of the motion had their “own misconception and motives”.
Shortly after, a vote was taken on the motion. Fourteen councillors voted against the motion while 12 voted for it. After the matter was closed, several councillors, upset over the outcome, walked out of the meeting which adjourned shortly after.