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Published:Thursday | October 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM

St James PC says deputy mayor's signature forged in US visa fraud

The St James Parish Council says so far the findings in a US visa-application fraud probe indicate that the deputy mayor's signature was forged on to documents submitted to the US Embassy.

Last month, the parish council said Deputy Mayor Michael Troupe denied signing a letter, which falsely stated that a man seeking a US visa was employed to the council. It is also reported that along with the alleged signature of the deputy mayor, the document bore the letterhead of the parish council.

Mayor Glendon Harris said tighter guidelines have been implemented for the use of the parish council's letterhead and official seals. He says the US Embassy brought the matter to the council's attention recently, and both bodies are carrying out their own investigations.

Jamaica Labour Party councillors in St James have called for Troupe, who was elected on a People's National Party ticket, to be removed from the post of deputy mayor.

Mount Rosser bypass usage down

Usage of the Mount Rosser bypass has declined by up to 2,000 vehicles per day since commuters have been required to pay a toll.

Ivan Anderson, managing director of the National Road Operating and Construction Company, said that before the toll was put in place, usage was 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles per day. That has been reduced to between 3,000 and 4,000 vehicles per day.

Motorists were able to use the new highway free of cost for one month after it was opened in August, before the toll structure was implemented in September.

It costs $200 for Class 1 vehicles such as cars, $420 for Class 2 vehicles such as SUVs, and $1,000 for trucks to use the highway. Motorised two- and three-wheel vehicles are charged $160.

Meanwhile, Anderson said there has been a more than 10 per cent fall-off in the projection for the usage of Highway 2000 from Kingston to May Pen.

He added that there has also been a fall-off in the use of non-toll roads.

Airports Authority incurs soaring debt for aerodromes

The Airports Authority of Jamaica is subsidising aerodromes on the island to the tune of $150 million per year.

Earl Richards, president of the Airport Authority, says given the situation, consideration is being given for the divestment of the aerodromes.

Addressing Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee yesterday, Richards said the decline in domestic air travel has affected the viability of the aerodromes.

He said failed airlines and the inability of concessionaires operating at the airports to pay fees are vastly responsible for its $4.5 million in bad debt.

Another $1.5 billion is on the books as receivables.

Richards disagreed with West St Mary Member of Parliament Jolyan Silvera that the Ian Fleming International Airport at Boscobel in the parish is a white elephant.

"The airport, even as it is now, has the potential to receive many more jets," said Richards, while adding that companies which rent jets on a timeshare basis are reluctant to use the airport more frequently.