Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Samuels calls on ministry to probe claims, clear his name

Published:Thursday | October 8, 2020 | 12:09 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor
Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels.
Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels.

Western Bureau:

Embattled Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels, who is the subject of a three-video attack in which he is being accused of nepotism and corruption as it relates to projects done by the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC), is turning to the Ministry of Local Government to help him beat back the claims.

In the videos, a muffled voice, which is reportedly of a People’s National Party (PNP) official, is heard making disparaging statements about Samuels and his stewardship while displaying what are said to be official HMC documents, showing payments to various individuals who, the accuser said, are locked in a nefarious scheme with the mayor.

Samuels, who vehemently denied the allegations earlier this week, has called on the local government ministry to investigate the claims and clear his name.

“I don’t want persons to be sending out things in the public, fixing and faking stories, that we are doing anything illegal here. We are not doing anything illegal here,” said Samuels.

While Samuels has intimated that he knows who is behind the videos, one of which has been decoded to reveal a familiar-sounding voice, he has not publicly called a name.

However, a source at the HMC is pointing the finger at the camp of former Hanover Western Member Parliament Ian Hayles, who is reportedly not on speaking terms with Samuels, who worked as a special assistant to Hayles before entering politics himself.

“Persons connected to the camp have been contending that the mayor did not support him in the recent general election in which he lost his seat to the Jamaica Labour Party newcomer Tamika Davis,” said a source at the HMC. “They are very angry with the mayor, but we want to tell them that they can’t keep a good man down.”

Contacted yesterday, Hayles admitted to being aware of the videos but did not admit to knowing about their creation or dissemination.

“I have heard about it, but that is not something I want to speak about at this time. I am going to have a lot to say on this matter, but I am driving now. Give me some time and call me back,” Hayles told The Gleaner.

Repeated attempts to reach him later proved futile.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com