Barbara Gayle, Staff Reporter
THE JUDICIAL Review Court yesterday officially reinstated chairman of the Portland Parish Council, Mayor Alston Hunter and his deputy, Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Councillor Rupert Kelly.
Both men were ousted from their posts last year.
After they were removed from office at a special meeting of the Portland Parish Council on July 15 last year, they went to the Supreme Court and got an order which allowed them to remain in charge until the issue was decided by the court.
"We have always been confident in the legal position we took from the beginning in this matter, so we are not surprised by the decision of this court," Mr. Hunter said after the ruling was handed down by Justice Basil Reid.
The judge said the meeting was called to assess the stewardship of the mayor and deputy mayor. He said the councillors attended the meeting based on the notice to discuss that issue. The judge said when the issue of removal of the mayor and his deputy arose by way of the resolution, it was outside the purpose for which the meeting was called.
It was the judge's finding that the councillors were not properly notified that the meeting was being called to remove Hunter and Kelly from their posts, and to that extent, the resolution for their removal ought not to have been debated or any decisions taken at that meeting.
Hunter and Kelly were removed from office after Hunter adjourned the special meeting called by Franklin Smith, secretary/manager of the Portland Parish Council.
JLP Councillor Benny White was appointed mayor and People's National Party's Councillor Dexter Roland was appointed his deputy after the men were ousted. However, the injunction granted in the Supreme Court had barred them from taking up the posts.
Hunter and Kelly, who were represented by attorneys-at-law Harold Brady, Arthur Williams, and Paul Beswick, had asked the Judicial Review Court to declare that their removal by the Portland Parish Council from office on July 15, 2004 was in breach of the Parish Council Act and by-laws.
Mr. Justice Reid said that the meeting was properly convened in accordance with the 1933 by-laws as Patrick Foster, Deputy Solicitor General, and attorney-at-law Symone Mayhew had argued on behalf of the Portland Parish Council.