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Mayor, custos bury hatchet

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 16, 2019

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Mayor of Falmouth, Councillor C Junior Gager and Paul Muschett, custos of Trelawny, whose strained relationship was recently highlighted in the media, have agreed to bury the hatchet and work together, following a meeting with Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.

A recent rift between the two men saw the mayor, who is chairman of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, being absent from a parade which formed part of the corporation's official Independence Day ceremony.

The government minister has charged both men to rally business leaders in Trelawny to support Jamaica's hosting of the seventh Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean (RP20), which is to be held in Montego Bay, St James, in July 2020.

Regional platforms are United Nations Office on Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) conferences that bring together government officials and heads of disaster and emergency management agencies in a region with key stakeholders in disaster risk reduction, to foster collaboration and the sharing of best practices and techniques.

Next year will be the first time a regional platform will be hosted in the Caribbean. With a Caribbean country as the host nation, the disaster risks faced by small-island developing states can be better highlighted to participants from North, Central and South America, and the rest of the world.

“I have tasked the custos and the mayor to work jointly, mobilising the business community and the leadership in the parish to participate with the neighbouring municipality in St James when Jamaica hosts, next year in July, the seventh Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction,” McKenzie announced during last week's monthly meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, to which Custos Muschett was specially invited.

The Trelawny custos, who conceded that the differences between himself and Mayor Gager were “embarrassing”, promised that “going forward, the mayor and I will be working very closely together”.

“The mayor and I will be working closely to get the business community involved in this big seminar that is to take place. I'd just like to thank, again, the honourable minister (McKenzie) and the mayor for facilitating my being at this meeting to bring closure to the incident, and that there will be no further reporting in the press on anything that could be construed as trying to reignite any differences we may have had,” Muschett said to thunderous applause from the gathering.

For his part, Mayor Gager, who expressed that Trelawny, a burgeoning tourism destination, “is a delicate parish which has lot of potential but must be handled the right and proper way”, also thanked McKenzie for stepping in to assist with resolving the differences between himself and Muschett.

“Custos, it's a pleasure working with you. We will continue to work together to have a very good relationship. thank you very much, minister,” a smiling Gager remarked.

McKenzie was happy that the matter has been settled amicably.

“Following discussions, the custos and the mayor agreed that the interest of the parish takes precedence over everything. The custos has joined us here this [Thursday]morning, not just as a PR [public relations] [move] but as a show of good faith to rise above any petty foolishness that was blown out of proportion by those who want to create disunity,” McKenzie said.


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