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St Thomas PNP councillors write PM demanding resignation of deputy mayor

Published:Friday | December 23, 2016 | 12:20 PM
Empty seats in the St Thomas Municipal Corporation as People’s National Party councillors boycott the swearing-in ceremony in Morant Bay on December 8.

Jerome Reynolds, Acting Assistant News Editor – Radio

People’s National Party (PNP) councillors in the St Thomas Municipal Corporation through their attorney have written to Prime Minister Andrew Holness giving him 14 days to have Deputy Mayor of Morant Bay Michael Hue resign.

The councillors also want an election within the St Thomas Municipal Corporation for a new deputy to be selected from the PNP.

The PNP councillors say if their demands are not met in 14 days, they are prepared to go to court to challenge Hue’s appointment.

In a letter dated December 20, copied to Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, the law firm, Knight, Junor and Samuels, which is representing the councillors, charged that Hue's appointment is contrary to the spirit of the law, statutory framework and the principles of democracy enshrined in the Constitution.

The PNP councillors have objected to the appointment of the mayor and deputy mayor of Morant Bay from the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) since there was a five-five tie with the PNP in the November 28 Local Government election.

Under convention, where there is a tie, the mayor should be selected from the party with the most overall votes in the parish and the deputy from the other party.

The JLP won the popular vote in the elections.

Earlier this month, PNP councillors boycotted the swearing-in ceremony at the St Thomas Municipal Corporation because they wanted a postponement pending the hearing of an election petition they filed seeking to bar the installation of the JLP councillor for the Yallahs Division, Dean Jones.

The PNP had argued that Jones should be disqualified because he lives outside of the parish, and because he is a civil servant.

In the absence of the PNP councillors, Hue was appointed deputy mayor.

The councillors' letter to the Prime Minister signed by attorney-at-law Bert Samuels, says the Prime Minister should cause the resignation of the deputy mayor to avoid any embarrassment and for the interest of political harmony.