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OCG probe at Hanover Parish Council

Mayor’s supporters want MP Ian Hayles out

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, March 27, 2014    

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LUCEA, Hanover — Investigators from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) yesterday, for the second successive day, continued investigations at Hanover Parish Council into allegations of nepotism in the award of contracts.

A Jamaica Observer source said the OCG investigators seized a number of computers and files from the offices of the council. However, efforts to reach Lucea Mayor Shernett Haughton and her deputy, Lloyd Hill, proved futile.

At the same time, a group of People's National Party (PNP) supporters, clad in orange shirts — the party's colour — yesterday staged a protest outside the council's building demanding that MP of Western Hanover Ian Hayles, who was allegedly involved in a spat with Mayor Haughton, step down.

One of the demonstrators, who gave his name as Omar Daley, accused Hayles of "fighting against" Haughton, PNP councillor for the Green Island Division.

"Wi nuh want Hayles. Shernett Haughton is our councillor and is a good councillor, too. Wi haffi turn against him because him rise up against Shernett, which is the only person who wi see," Daley said. "At least she embrace the people dem."

Added another demonstrator: "Right now the boss fi deal wid wi good. No Shernett, no Ian. Mr Hayles is not a good MP to us in Logwood. So we decide seh we have to get him out because he keep fighting against our mayor and our mayor is the only one giving us a little work."

One woman who was seen milling around described the demonstrators' action as vindictive because "contract stop run".

The group was demonstrating for the second time in days after mounting a similar protest in Green Island on Saturday.

The police maintained a strong presence outside the council building during the protest.

Earlier this month the monthly general meeting of the council was cancelled due to the lack of a quorum, as members who have been in opposition to the mayor's leadership style stayed away.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 10:00 am. However, just over an hour later, the mayor entered the chambers and thanked members of various State-run agencies, parish development committee representatives and members of the media for coming out. She said later that the meeting had fallen through because of the lack of a quorum.

At least three councillors of the Hanover Parish Council must be present in order for the meeting to be convened.

Devon Brown of the Hopewell Division (JLP) was the only elected representative who had turned up for the sitting along with the mayor.

Brown is the lone JLP councillor in the PNP-ruled council.

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