No further breach
HMC to go virtual with general meetings
IN AN attempt to comply with the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) will be moving towards holding virtual monthly meetings, beginning with its regular monthly meeting slated for April 8.
According to the DRMA, no more than 10 persons must be gathered for any occasion at any given time. Interestingly, at the recent HMC monthly meeting, the corporation was in breach, as at least 25 persons were in attendance in the corporation’s meeting room.
During the meeting, Councillor Easton Edwards, of the Lucea division, questioned whether or not it was safe and legal, based on the prevailing COVID-19 environment, for face-to-face meetings to be taking place in contravention of the DRMA, albeit mask wearing, temperature checks and sanitising practices were being observed.
“Councillors, the straight answer is that it is not safe,” said Dr Kausal Singh, the medical officer of health for Hanover, who was in attendance at the meeting.
Singh used the occasion to highlight the extent of the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Hanover, which was the last parish to get a positive case of the coronavirus.
After Dr Singh’s comments, Lucea Mayor Sheridan Samuels revealed that plans are in place to start holding virtual HMC general meetings, beginning in April.
“We have plans to do our meetings virtually; all those plans are in place now. What Dr Singh spoke about, we already have those in the pipeline to come up, you will never see the numbers like this within our meetings again,” Samuels said.
“What we wanted to do is just to have the quorum of councillors that would start a meeting constitutionally, and to do the rest virtually,” added Samuels.
“We are going to have the numbers that is approved by the DRMA, which is 10, so some councillors (and other persons) will be doing the meeting virtually,” continued Samuels. “The restrictions will include the number of media personnel that are usually in attendance, as some will be required to use the virtual platform.”
David Gardner, the chief executive officer of the HMC, told The Gleaner that details of the virtual meeting are not yet settled, but will be in place for the April meeting.
“What is certain is that we are striving to ensure that there is at least a quorum of councillors. But in terms of the other modalities, we would have to finalise those,” added Gardner.