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PNP caucus calls for JLP councillor to step aside

Published:Tuesday | July 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The People's National Party (PNP) councillors from the St Thomas Municipal Corporation are stepping up the pressure on sitting Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor for the Yallahs division, Dean Jones, to relinquish his position immediately, arguing that he was not qualified to be elected to the post in the local government elections of November 28 last year.

Armed with a copy of a P45 form bearing the name of Jones, a team of PNP councillors yesterday charged that the JLP politician was sitting in breach of the law and, as such, the minister of local government or the chief executive officer of the municipality should ask him to step aside.

Minority leader of the corporation, Hugh Williams, told journalists at a press briefing at the PNP headquarters in St Andrew, that Jones was a paid employee of the government up to December 15, 2016. He said the P45 form, which is a certificate of gross emoluments and tax deducted to date, showed that December 16, last year, was the date Jones left the public service. With the local government elections held on November 28, Williams is contending that Jones was still employed to the government after being elected councillor for the Yallahs division.

The Local Government Act of 2016 states, among other things, that a person is not qualified to be elected as councillor if he holds any office for the time being constituted a public office pursuant to Section Three of the Civil Servant Establishment Act or holds any office to which the Judiciary Act applies.

The PNP caucus of the municipal corporation is insisting that Jones, at the time of local government elections, was not eligible for nomination and election to the Yallahs division and must be removed immediately.

At the same time, the election petition brought against Jones, which claimed that he was not a resident in the division at the time he was nominated and elected, will be heard by the Supreme Court beginning today.

Constantine Bogle, the PNP candidate, is questioning the legality of Jones' installation as councillor following the local government elections.