Salt Spring residents protest councillor’s ouster
Scores of residents in Salt Spring, St James, yesterday staged a protest to voice their opposition to the motion moved earlier this month to boot their councillor, Sylvan Reid, and his Catadupa Division counterpart, Gladstone Bent, from the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC).
The protesters, many clad in T-shirts emblazoned with Reid’s name, accused the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)-led StJMC of political victimisation, arguing that there was an ulterior motive behind the ousting of the two People’s National Party (PNP) councillors on the basis that they had missed three consecutive sittings without giving notice, pursuant to Section 30 (1B) of The Local Governance Act.
“We are in a national crisis with COVID-19 and you take away our representation? That means they don’t care about us,” said a protester. “What they have done is to unite the community behind Mr Reid because like him or not, people see him as a good councillor.”
Reid, a two-time councillor for the Salt Spring Division, and Bent were both disqualified during the June monthly sitting of the corporation on a motion brought by JLP Senator Charles Sinclair, the councillor for the Flankers division.
André Hylton, the PNP’s caretaker for Central St James, in which the Salt Spring division is located, said that the JLP majority was exploiting a technicality in disqualifying the councillors, a move, he said, that totally disregarded the COVID-19 protocols, which should have covered both men.
There are 13 JLP and four PNP councillors in the StJMC.
“As you can see, the people are not happy, and they want their councillor to be reinstated,” he added.
“Mr Reid is the best councillor we ever have. Him give us road, him give us water. Dem can’t just push him out like that,” said a woman wearing a T-shirt bearing the words ‘Fada Reid For Life’. “We would be wicked not to stand up for a man who has served us so well.”