Fri | Sep 22, 2017

No cloth war this election - councillor

Published:Friday | November 18, 2016 | 11:00 AMEdmond Campbell

With the rapid erection of orange and green flags across constituencies in the run-up to the November 28 Local Government Elections, at least one councillor in St Thomas says he has no plans to engage in a cloth war.

Councillor Rohan Bryan of the Morant Bay division says persons putting up flags should respect the views of others who might not want their property or community decorated with the so-called party colours.

"I am not about to fight no cloth war. If them put it up and it is taken down, it means nothing to me. But mi nah guh tell my supporters to guh tear down anybody cloth. Mi nuh have nuh time fi dat," the PNP councillor said.

"Mi just want to live good with everybody. Mi just want my division to be on top. Mi just want to serve the people. Whether you green or orange, it nuh matter to me," he declared.

However, Bryan sought to draw parallels between the onset of Christmas and the putting up of pepper lights with the run-up to elections and the erection of flags. "What is election without beautifying the place with colours? I am not against green or orange or nothing like that," he said, adding that if the erection of flags leads to disquiet in a community, steps should be taken to remove them.

In stark contrast, Victor Hutchinson of the Port Morant Division said he told the police that he would not be encouraging his supporters to take down the flags they put up until the Jamaica Labour Party removed the flags they erected first.

Hutchinson indicated that he had been approached by the police, who advised him to remove the orange flags in his division. "When my division puts up flag, it's always after flag out there already by the JLP. So if we are going to take down flag, it a go mean say either the JLP or the PNP go out there one time and a tek down, or the police go and tek down everything, or the JLP tek down first. But not over my dead body will the PNP tek down any first," he insisted.

He cautioned that if the flag issue was not dealt with impartially, it could lead to "a little civil war".

Responding to the issue, Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown said she had received reports from the superintendent of police in charge of St Thomas who raised concerns about the proliferation of flags across the parish.

She reminded councillors that the erection of flags depicting party colours was a breach of the Political Code of Conduct. At least 18 councillors from St Thomas signed the code this week.