Devon Evans and Gareth Davis Sr., Gleaner Writers
New Mayor of Falmouth, Colin Junior Gager (centre), being robed by outgoing mayor, councillor Jonathan Bartley, and director of administration at the Trelawny Parish Council, Valrie DeOkoro, at the swearing-in of the mayor and councillors at the Falmouth Town Hall yesterday. - photo by Richard Morais
The smooth running of the installation of the country's 14 mayors was disrupted yesterday by the closely divided St. Ann Parish Council.
A late court action, challenging the result of the December 5 local government election by one losing People's National Party (PNP) candidate forced the postponement of the swearing-in of a mayor and councillors in the parish.
The new swearing-in date is Thursday December 20.
PNP councillor for the Brown's Town division, Ivan Anderson, was preparing to take leadership of the St. Ann Parish Council from outgoing mayor, Delroy Giscombe, of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
However, losing PNP candidate for the Dry Harbour division, Arthur Clemetson, had filed for a magisterial recount of votes.
All officials, including Custos of St. Ann, Radcliff Walters, were waiting for nearly an hour, while senior returning officer for St. Ann, Rev. Lenwart Sterling, had the elected councillors in an emergency meeting discussing the way forward. They all agreed on the postponement.
At the end of the meeting, Sterling said there were certain legal matters to be dealt with and he wanted to allow these matters to take their course.
Chairman of the PNP's Region One, Mark Campbell, said the party had taken the court action because it was satisfied that it had a solid legal basis on which to ask for a magisterial recount.
Over in Portland, there was also a disturbance, as Member of Parliament for Eastern Portland, the PNP's Donald Rhodd, accused many of the councillors sworn in, as having got their positions through intimidation and bribery. The JLP, through West Portland MP Daryl Vaz, has dismissed the claims, calling Dr. Rhodd a sore loser.
At press time, all other installation ceremonies had gone smoothly.
Dr. Andrew Wheatley
|Commander Floyd Patterson||Port Antonio|
|Joan Spencer||Morant Bay|
|Unnamed||St. Ann's bay|
|Colin Junior Gager||Falmouth|
|Jeremy Palmer||Black River|
|Richard Creary||Port Maria|
|Milton Brown||May Pen|
People's National Party (PNP) Councillor Ivan Anderson (in suit) is surrounded by both Jamaica Labour Party and PNP supporters at the aborted swearing-in of Anderson as Mayor of St. Ann's Bay and the other councillors in St. Ann's Bay yesterday. - Roger Robinson/Freelance Photographer