Given the present situation surrounding the resignation of Raymond Tim Kee as Mayor of Port of Spain, and apparent misinformation in the public domain, I wish to provide sections of Act 21 of 1990 also called The Municipal Corporations Act for the enlightenment of the public and the media.
The Act provides for a Mayor or Chairman to resign at any time by sending a written resignation signed by that person to the CEO of the Corporation. It also provides for the Deputy Mayor to succeed the Mayor in office and continue until the date when the term of the Mayor would have originally ended.
I also included the sections which speak to the resignation of members other than the Mayor
MINISTRY OF LEGAL AFFAIRS www.legalaffairs.gov.tt Municipal Corporation Act:
21. (4) In the event of the death, resignation, removal or disqualification of the Mayor for any cause, the Deputy Mayor shall forthwith succeed to the office of Mayor, and shall continue in such office until the date when the Mayor would have gone out of office by effluxion of time.
25. (1) A person elected to a corporate office may, at any time by writing signed by him and delivered to the Chief Executive Officer, resign the office on payment of the fine provided for non-acceptance of office.
Resignation of Member other than Mayor:
(2) Where a person resigns from a corporate office other than the office of Mayor, the Council shall forthwith declare the office vacant.
(3) Notice of the vacancy, signed by two members of the Council and countersigned by the Chief Executive Officer, shall be affixed in some conspicuous place near the outer door of the Municipal Office and the Chief Executive Officer shall forthwith send to the Minister a copy of the notice.
(4) In any case where the Council by resolution carried by not less than a three-fourths majority of the members present at a meeting attended by not less than two-thirds of the whole Council grants permission to the holder of a corporate office to resign—
(a) on the grounds of ill health; or
(b) because his residence or business is such a distance from the Municipal Office of the Corporation that it would be difficult to attend meetings of the Council,
the person resigning is not liable to pay a fine nor is he so liable where he previously served in a corporate office for six years and any period of such service falls within five years of the date of such resignation.
Note that 25. (4) Provides that either in the case of a Mayor OR a a person in corporate office other than Mayor, the council provides permission for resignation for the reasons specified in (a) and (b), the office holder is not liable to fine.
Permission is not required by the council for a Mayor to resign, permission is required for the officeholder to resign without paying the fine. The City Council has no power in law to receive, reject or to accept the resignation. To indicate otherwise is to mislead the population.
I maintain that Mr. Raymond Tim Kee ought to resign to uphold the dignity of the Office of Mayor of the capital city of Port of Spain. Following his public statement that he would resign and the subsequent circulation of an unsigned letter of resignation dated February 13th as well as statements by Prime Minister Keith Rowley before he left for Belize the following morning Sunday 14th in which he described Mr. Tim Kee’s statement as “clearly unacceptable” and that he, Rowley was “pleased with the Mayor’s decision to resign”, the public locally, regionally and internationally expects Mr. Tim Kee to resign and for him to not do so will be to bring further disrepute to the Office of Mayor. The council should be ashamed for engaging in this act to deceit towards the population.
If Mr. Tim Kee is an honorable man, he would simply sign the letter and hand it to the CEO.
Deputy Political Leader, United National Congress