Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Senator Sinclair rebukes Phillips

Published:Saturday | July 11, 2020 | 12:11 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


Government Senator Charles Sinclair has taken issue with a recent statement by the Opposition leader Dr Peter Phillips who accused the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) led St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) of trying to weaken the corporation’s accountability structures for their own benefit.

“Why is it that there is an attempt to sully and to tear down institutions by Dr Peter Phillips?” asked Sinclair, while addressing the StJMC’s monthly meeting on Thursday. “What structure has the StJMC sought to tear apart, to open up the coffers? I think it is disingenuous and it is an attempt to tear down reputable institutions and reputable people, and if this so-called honourable gentleman is applying his mind, he will see that there are many accountability structures,” Sinclair commented.

Removal of PNP councillors

In an address to People’s National Party councillors, caretakers and leadership from Regions One and Six in Montego Bay on Sunday, Phillips, who is the party’s president, castigated the JLP-led StJMC over its removal of PNP councillors, Sylvan Reid and Gladstone Bent, who were both disqualified for allegedly missing three consecutive meetings in breach of local government regulations.

“We do not believe that there is any basis for their [StJMC] actions. The net effect is to weaken the accountability structures of local government in the StJMC, yet they say that they believe in democracy and transparency,” argued Phillips.

But in rejecting Phillips’ comments, Sinclair, who is the councillor for the Montego Bay North East division, said the municipal corporation’s accountability systems include the Parish Development Committee (PDC) and the Local Public Accounts Committee (LPAC), both of which are stipulated under Section 38 of the Local Governance Act.

“The accountability system in municipal corporations, and indeed in this StJMC, includes the PDC, a structure that is set up by the Local Governance Act. We have a very active PDC that reports and oversees the operations touching upon local government and accountability and transparency,” said Sinclair.