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Inside the Municipal Corporations | PNP councillors concerned over Sykes saga, election petition

Published:Saturday | February 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Councillors of the People's National Party in the St Thomas Municipal Corporation have joined other groups, including the Jamaican Bar Association, in calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to immediately confirm acting Chief Justice Bryan Sykes in the post.

They are raising concerns over Holness' decision to appoint Sykes in an acting position in light of the judge's outstanding ruling on the election petition challenging the seat of councillor for the Yallahs division in the parish Dean Jones of the Jamaica Labour Party.

In his address during the monthly meeting of the municipal corporation on Thursday, Councillor of the White Horses division and minority leader in the St Thomas Municipal Corporation Hubert Williams said that the prime minister was trying to preserve his majority rule over the local council.

Williams said that though he respected the merits of Skyes, the ethics of his appointment were questionable.

According to the councillor, the prime minister's reluctance to change his stance on the matter despite pressure from several quarters leaves him to believe that Holness wants to get a favourable result in the petition.

He also raised concerns over the 120-day period given by Sykes to rule on the case despite Section 20 of the Election Petition Act, which states that a decision is to be made within 48 hours after the close of arguments.

Williams' concerns were backed by his fellow PNP councillors.

There is a five-five tie in the St Thomas Municipal Corporation.

Justice Sykes' ruling will break the tie and determine the party that will govern the local council.