Sun | Dec 15, 2019

Expulsion bid ‘reckless’ - Mayor pours cold water on resolution to boot Kim Brown-Lawrence

Published:Wednesday | November 13, 2019 | 12:50 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
St Ann’s Bay Mayor Michael Belnavis.
St Ann’s Bay Mayor Michael Belnavis.

St Ann’s Bay Mayor Michael Belnavis is dismissing a resolution to be tabled at Thursday’s general meeting by the minority councillors of the People’s National Party (PNP) to boot Brown’s Town Councillor Kim Brown-Lawrence, who is facing charges in an education ministry corruption probe.

Belnavis said the notice of the resolution, which was dated November 8, 2019, was too short as it would have had to be announced a month ago to be tabled at this week’s meeting.

“ ... They’re going to have to wait on that one, give it another month. It has to be given one month in advance,” Belnavis, who chairs the St Ann Municipal Corporation, told The Gleaner. “They are reckless in their doings, and as such, they have not followed the regulations. In due course, they can wheel and come again.”

Minority leader Winston Brown, however, rejected this assertion, saying only five clear days are needed between the issuing of the notice and the tabling of the resolution.

In October, Brown-Lawrence was arrested and charged with conspiracy to defraud and possession of criminal property in a case that also involves former Education Minister Ruel Reid and Caribbean Maritime University President Professor Fritz Pinnock.

In the resolution, a copy of which The Gleaner has seen, the PNP councillors stated, among other things, that “it is undesirable and not in the best interest of the people that their municipal representative be operating under the cloud of serious criminal charges involving government property”.

It asks for Brown-Lawrence to be expelled until the matter has been cleared up, or the end of her term, whichever is earlier.

The Gleaner understands that even with urging from her Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) colleagues, Brown-Lawrence has refused to step down.

The PNP councillors are moving the resolution in accordance with Section 44 (1) of the Local Governance Act, which says the municipal corporation may, “by a resolution ... expel for a limited time any member of the council for persistent obstruction or other misconduct tending to prevent the conduct of business or to bring the council into disrepute”.

The St Ann Municipal Corporation has 16 divisions, with the JLP controlling 11 and the PNP five.