Former mayor weeps at council meeting
Claudia Gardner, Assignment Coordinator
WESTERN BUREAU: Lester Crooks, the councillor for the Riverside Division and former mayor of Lucea, yesterday wept during the monthly meeting of the Hanover Parish Council, as he bemoaned the gross neglect of his division by the council.
Crooks, who was returning to council for the first time after a three-month bout of illness, shed tears as he spoke about the state of his division, which he said had been abandoned by the council while he was on sick leave.
In a plea to Councillor Wynter McIntosh, who was recently installed as the new mayor of Lucea and chairman of the council, Crooks said his division had not benefited from any recent council initiatives, and as a consequence, his constituents had suffered during his absence.
"What about the division that was not represented over three months now, Mr Chairman?" Crooks asked, as he broke down in tears. "Nothing has been done to the division, believe you me, by this council. I am ashamed; so much ashamed.
"Nothing has been done by this parish council … . I am demanding that something be done to this division," Crooks added, as more tears flowed.
FORMER MAYOR BLAMED
Councillor of the Cauldwell Division, Anthony Walker, said Councillor Shernet Haughton should take responsibility for the state of the division, as she was serving as mayor during that period and should have assumed responsibility for Crooks' division.
"I think Councillor Haughton should stand and apologise to Councillor Crooks, because in the absence of any councillor, the mayor has the prerogative to do works in a councillor's division on behalf of the people of the division," said Walker.
"You were not the mayor for the majority of the time that Councillor Crooks was off, and it is with that in mind that I am asking that Councillor Haughton apologise," Walker said in addressing Mayor McIntosh.
However, in defence of Haughton, the council's secretary/manager, Judy McKenzie-Lawrence, said she had tried several times to contact Crooks by phone while he was ill to find out what programmes he would have liked to have implemented, but her efforts were unsuccessful.
In an attempt to appease Crooks, Mayor McIntosh said he would ensure that the Riverside Division gets priority attention going forward.