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Political Ombudsman to meet with ousted St Thomas councillor

Published:Wednesday | March 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMJerome Reynolds/ Gleaner Writer
Donna Parchment Brown, political ombudsman.

Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown has called ousted councillor for the Yallahs division in St Thomas, Dean Jones, to a meeting next week Thursday morning to discuss the outcome of the court case against him and whether he breached the Political Code of Conduct.

Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court nullified Jones' November 2016 election on the grounds that he was ineligible to contest the local government polls due to the fact that at the time, he was employed to the Government.

The Representation of the People Act prohibits civil servants from contesting elections.

In a March 26 letter to Jones, Parchment Brown highlighted that as a signatory to the Code, he agreed to uphold the law, among other things.

"It has been reported that you will be the candidate for the upcoming by-election (on April 27). In light of the court's decision, it is important to determine if the Code was breached, and if so, what action should be taken to address the breach," the ombudsman said in the letter to Jones.

The political ombudsman continued: "Electors of the Yallahs division, the St Thomas Municipal Corporation, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, the Ministry of Local Government, and Jamaican taxpayers may have been affected by your decision to accept nomination in 2016 and to contest the elections even though disqualified by virtue of your employment and may require action."


Mayor steps down


The stepping down of Mayor of Morant Bay Lenworth Rawle of the Jamaica Labour Party and replacment by his deputy, Councillor Michael Hue, on Tuesday has been denounced by minority leader of the People's National Party caucus Councillor Hubert Williams.

Williams, who is also councillor for the White Horses division in the parish, said that Rawle's resignation was an attempt to neutralise the no-confidence motion that is to be moved against him and his deputy in a special meeting set for Tuesday, April 3.

However, the minority leader said the move would not work.

"What they are trying to do is to let the mayor resign so his deputy can assume the role. But bear in mind that a notice of no confidence was also served on the deputy mayor," Williams told The Gleaner.

He said that the party would, therefore, be moving forward with the motion of no confidence against Councillor Hue despite the new developments in the municipal corporation.

"The date was already set by the mayor (Rawle), and the agenda for the meeting has already been prepared.

"You know, this is why a lot of people have no respect for local government because things like these look like child's play. It makes local government look like a dolly house business," Williams said.

Calls to both the mayor and his deputy went unanswered.

Gleaner writer Shanna Monteith contributed to this story.