News

Portmore's acting mayor in breach of Municipalities Act

BY BALFORD HENRY Observer senior reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 09, 2014    

Print this page Email A Friend!


THE government has tabled a Bill in the House of Representatives seeking to validate official acts performed by Councillor Leon Thomas (Hellshire), who has been acting as mayor of the Portmore municipality since October, 2013.

However, its failure to get opposition's support for the Bill to be debated and passed in the House means that, based on its own timelines, Thomas has no authority to act as mayor beyond yesterday

Thomas' continued performance as mayor of the municipality has raised a number of legal issues in the community, primarily arising from the fact that the Municipalities Act does not allow anyone to act as Mayor of Portmore beyond a six-month period which, according to the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development ended yesterday.

The Bill, which was brought to the House of Representatives, yesterday, by the local government minister Noel Arscott would have validated the actions taken by Thomas and the Portmore Municipal Council since this year, "in good faith", and indemnify them against any legal action taken for breaching the law.

It also included amendments which would have allowed Thomas and the Portmore Municipal Council to continue to perform their duties until new elections are held.

The vacancy in the mayor's Parlour was created by the death of former mayor George Lee last September. Thomas started acting as mayor last October, but his appointment was only entered in the minutes of the Portmore Council on January 8, this year, which is the date on which the six-month acting period begins, according to the ministry.

The ministry was hoping that the Bill could have been tabled and passed, validating any actions performed by Councillor Thomas over the six-month period between January 8 and July 8, as well as any actions taken by the Council since April 8. However, after Opposition members of Parliament objected, on the basis that they needed time to digest the contents of the Bill, the debate was postponed.

The Bill is likely to be debated next week. But, in the meantime, it confirms that Councillor Thomas has been acting as mayor of Portmore in breach of the Municipalities Act, at least since yesterday, when the ministry says his six-month acting period expired.

ADVERTISEMENT

POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

Do you think government is justified in spending $4m to send home Trinidadian Abu Bakr?
Yes
No


View Results »


ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT