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Suspended!

No pay, municipal corporation meetings for Councillor Troupe for 3 months

BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at-Large
cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 09, 2018

MONTEGO BAY, St James — The St James Municipal Corporation has suspended veteran People's National Party (PNP) councillor for the Granville Division, Michael Troupe, for three months, for allegedly bringing the corporation into disrepute.

Troupe, a former deputy mayor of Montego Bay, was suspended under Section 44 of the Local Governance Act at yesterday's sitting of the regular monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation, following a debate on a resolution piloted by Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor for the Montego Bay West Division David Brown.

The embattled councillor will not be paid by the corporation during the period of suspension, nor will he be allowed to attend meetings.

Councillor Brown gave notice of the motion last December, weeks after Councillor Troupe's former personal assistant was implicated in the seizure of a shipment of 119 illegal guns and a large quantity of ammunition in Miami, United States, that was destined for Jamaica.

However, to date, she has not been charged for any offence in relation to the shipment.

When news broke about the shipment, Troupe reportedly said that the former personal assistant had quit her job three months before the seizure. The corporation, however, said it was in possession of documentation that suggests that she was still being paid.

In fact, documents at the corporation revealed that the personal assistant was given a task by Councillor Troupe and signed off on by Councillor Troupe, and had been recommended for payment by Councillor Troupe for the period of October 1 to October 31. As a result of that task, payment was made in November.

Chairman of the St James Municipal Corporation, Councillor Homer Davis subsequently ordered a probe into the matter.

During yesterday's debate of the motion, 12 councillors voted in favour, while four voted against. The chairman of the 17-member JLP-controlled corporation did not vote.

Former mayor of Montego Bay and councillor for the Flanker Division, Senator Charles Sinclair Jr, later told the Jamaica Observer that Troupe's action had caused the public and the Ministry of Local Government to have a bad impression of the operations of the corporation.

“The matter had caused the Ministry of Local Government to look at the Municipal Assistance Programme (where councillors are allowed to employ individuals as personal assistants for a stipend of $25,000 monthly — 'in a way'. The matter was in the media and it gives a bad perception on how the corporation is operating in respect of public funds… So that was the issue that has brought the council into disrepute,” Senator Sinclair argued.

“A programme that is good was brought into turmoil,” he stressed.

He added that Councillor Troupe's actions, too, have resulted in the suspension of the assistance programme in the Granville Division.