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…but insists naysayers won’t discourage her
Town Clerk of Georgetown (ag) Candace Nelson said on Friday that while she has not had a warm welcome to the post at the Mayor and City Council (M&CC) since her July appointment, she remains unfazed and focused on conducting her duties and hopes that others at the Council will choose to work along with her.
Since her appointment, Nelson was met with public protest and a legal challenge of her appointment by the Local Government Commission (LGC).
At a press conference hosted at the Conference Hall, Kitty Market, Nelson did not deny that the resistance experienced has negatively impacted her work and the work of the Council.
“There have been many challenges, there has been resistance but I’m still trying my best to do as much as I can in relation to my job. The work of the Council indeed is being affected because we are not able at this time to have our committee meetings or even statutory meetings as per normal and this is the level where decisions are actually made about the operation of the Council and even requests coming from citizens,” she said, in response to a question from the Village Voice News.
Nelson pointed out that the Council has not had a committee meeting since August which puts many matters on standstill.
Since her arrival, she has not gotten along well with some Council members and Mayor of Georgetown, Ubraj Narine who has accused her of contributing to challenges and tension at the Council. However, Nelson said that one of the issues she intends to rectify at the M&CC is the “blurring of the line between policymaking and administration”.
“This is seriously affecting the work of statutory officers, whose duties are prescribed within the Act, Chapter 28:01,” she said.
One of the most recent hiccups faced at the M&CC in relation to Nelson’s appointment was a delay in the payment of wages and salary for City Hall’s some 700 staff due to disagreements on her authority there.
It involved changes to the Council’s Republic Bank account as requested by Nelson but reverted by Narine who informed the Bank that the Town Clerk (ag) did not follow the necessary procedures to make the changes and is also unauthorized to do so. Nelson has denied this position to be true.
Speaking at the press conference, Nelson said that though there is a perception of such, she is not new to the field and has been in Council’s employ for over four years as a Training Officer/Assistant Human Resource Manager.
She also stated that she has built relationships across departments and is very familiar with the needs of staff and the M&CC as a whole.
“I am aware that it is a challenging one [the position] but I believe that my education, training, experience in the private and public sectors, my love for this city and my passion for results would help me to not only raise standards at the Council but also promote the interests and wellbeing of the nation’s capital,” Nelson said.
She added that since her appointment she has been meeting with heads of department, sectional heads, technical officers and other members of staff. She has also met with the Guyana Labour Union (GLU) and the Guyana Local Government Officers Union in representation of workers on a number of issues, and with government representatives and other stakeholders.
Nelson vowed: “I am unswervingly committed to my statutory and fiduciary responsibilities and would follow both the letter and spirit of the Municipal District Councils Act, Chapter 28:011, from which the Council and all local Government officers derive their powers and responsibilities.”
Though matters regarding her appointment are before the Court, she is still hoping that the Council will focus on the best interest of the city and will choose to work in collaboration to achieve its goals.