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Salt Spring magisterial recount delayed

Published:Monday | December 5, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas

Western Bureau:

Yesterday's scheduled magisterial recount for the Salt Spring division in Central St James failed to get off the ground as Sylvan Reid, the People's National Party (PNP) councillor candidate, was not served with a summons to attend.

Following the preliminary count after the recent local government elections, Reid was declared the winner by five votes over his Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) opponent Gregory Harris, prompting the application for a magisterial recount by the JLP camp.

Attorney-at-law Martyn Thomas, who is slated to represent Reid when the rescheduled recount starts next Monday, told The Gleaner that his client was not served a summons to attend court yesterday and had not put legal counsel in place to represent him.

"Mr Reid was unrepresented by counsel today (Monday), so it (the matter) is set for Monday, December 12," said Thomas, in explaining to The Gleaner why presiding magistrate Kacia Grant had rescheduled the recount for next week. "He is to be served with a summons so that he can instruct counsel.

"... The bailiff (court official) had been trying to serve him since last week, but he was not able to," said Thomas. "Because he was not served, the Crown could not go on today."


Spoilt ballots


Initial reports were that Reid, the incumbent councillor for the division, had lost to Harris. However, following the official recount, Reid was declared the winner by a 1,046 to 1,041 margin. Harris is hoping that the magisterial recount will put him back in front.

Based on reports from Harris' camp, some 17 ballots were declared as 'spoilt' in the official recount and they believe that these could be viewed otherwise in the magisterial recount.

Following the elections, the JLP took control of the St James Municipal Corporation by winning 14 of the 17 divisions. Should Harris be successful in his challenge, the JLP's count would move up to 15 seats, leaving the PNP with a mere two seats.