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PNP deputy mayor makes first court appearance today

Colleague councillor granted bail

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter ?hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 25, 2012    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Deputy mayor of Montego Bay Councillor Michael Troupe (PNP, Granville Division) and his son, 21-year-old Jevaughn, are to appear in the Western Regional Gun Court today to answer charges of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.

Their appearance comes nearly a week after they were taken into custody during a pre-dawn raid on their Granville home by a team from the Lottery Scam Task Force during which the police said they found the illegal gun and a large sum of United States and Jamaican notes.

The two were among five persons, including another PNP councillor, Sylvan Reid (Salt Spring Division), who were taken into custody last Wednesday by members of the Lottery Scam Task Force during simultaneous raids at Cornwall Courts, Granville and Rosevale in St James.

Since the arrests, there have been calls for the councillors’ resignation. However, the PNP on the weekend only announced that Troupe had taken a leave of absence as he moves to clear his name.

There have also been questions as to why no charge related to the billion-dollar lottery scam has been brought against them despite the men being investigated by the task force.

But in an interview on the This Morning programme on Nationwide News Network yesterday, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington hinted that such charges could be coming.

Meanwhile, Reid was granted bail in the sum of $250,000 when he appeared in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate’s Court yesterday on a charge of illegal possession of property.

Resident Magistrate Sandria Wong-Small ordered that the councillor surrender his travel documents and placed a stop order at all ports and his fingerprints taken. He is also to report to the Mount Salem Police Station on Mondays and Fridays between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm.

The court heard that Reid was arrested after the police searched his Cornwall Courts home and saw a black 50-inch flat screen television for which the councillor allegedly could not produce Customs documentation as requested by the police. Yesterday, tears streamed down Reid’s cheeks as his attorney Roy Fairclough made the application for bail.

He is scheduled to return to the Montego Bay RM Court on Tuesday, October 23, for a hearing in the matter.

Fairclough was delighted after his client was granted bail. However, he was very critical of the Lottery Scam Task Force.

“They make a lot of noise in the press, claiming they are scoring shots against the lotto scam, and then a couple people turn up in court charged for illegal possession, usually of a flat screen TV. ...If you are accused of being in the lotto scam, possession of a flat screen TV is almost certain to land you in jail...,” Fairclough told journalists.

The attorney argued that the “Government is anxious to be seen to be acting against the lotto scam”.

“And I suspect that when allegations are made that people of the governing party are involved, they are even more anxious in those circumstances to make sure that no impression is created that the party or the Government is involved with law breakers,” Fairclough said.

Meanwhile, 29-year-old businessman Dwight Troupe — son of the embattled deputy mayor — and his cousin Ricardo Jarrett, 29, were also granted bail in the sum of $250,000 on charges of illegal possession of property.

The two are scheduled to return to court on October 19.

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