Thu | Aug 6, 2020

JLP councillors want embattled St Ann’s Bay mayor to resign

Published:Friday | July 3, 2020 | 12:00 AM
St Ann's Bay mayor Michael Belnavis - Contributed photo

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillors in St Ann have recommended that embattled St Ann’s Bay Mayor Michael Belnavis resign his post.

Belnavis has been under intense scrutiny since a Sunday Gleaner investigation uncovered that he was a director of a company that constructed a structure on government lands in Ocho Rios without the required authorisation of the municipal corporation he leads.

READ: Belnavis tied to building breach

Belnavis has not commented publicly on The Sunday Gleaner story and in a statement this afternoon Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie said the St Ann councillors did not in any way accuse him of impropriety.

The mayor, who is also the chairman of the St Ann Municipal Corporation, had previously been under pressure for the installation of an electrical port at the council to charge his personal Porsche hybrid motor car.

READ: Mayor defends charging station for his Porsche

“The unanimous conclusion was that it was in the best interest of the Municipal Corporation, to have the mayor step aside while the matters ventilated in the public domain are investigated,” said McKenzie, who is also a deputy leader of the ruling JLP.

The JLP’s 11 councillors in St Ann, including Belnavis, met with McKenzie today.

The minister said the councillors felt strongly that the scandal at the corporation could detract from the authority’s agenda.

At a press briefing on Monday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said he was not fully briefed on the issue and McKenzie was due to give him a report.

The St Ann authority is also under the microscope for a $47 million sanitation contract, which is the subject of an Integrity Commission probe of the corporation.

READ: Integrity Commission conducts raid at St Ann Municipal Corporation

Anti-corruption advocates including the National Integrity Action have called for the mayor to resign or be removed.

Belnavis is the councillor for the Ocho Rios Division.

- Jovan Johnson

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