Not true!

Not true!

Lucea mayor says Hanover Western MP

Observer writer

Thursday, August 29, 2019

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LUCEA, Hanover — Head of Hanover Municipal Corporation Sheridan Samuels has rejected recent assertions by Member of Parliament for Hanover Western Ian Hayles that suggest that political differences between them is the reason the corporation rejected an application by Hanover Hope Foundation to use the corporation's property to host a back-to-school treat.

Hayles, the founder of the foundation, has openly supported Peter Bunting's challenge to the incumbent Dr Peter Phillips for the leadership of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), while Samuels, who is also mayor of Lucea, is supporting Dr Phillips.

Hayles suggested that the differing political positions “has something to do with it”.

“The mayor has come out and has been saying some things about me… but I believe that there should be a level of political maturity,” stated Hayles.

In response, Mayor Samuels came out swinging, pointing out that the organisers of the event had failed to seek the necessary approval from the corporation prior to advertising it.

“The whole thing about the back-to-school that he reported to the Jamaica Observer about is a lie,” Samuels asserted. “The corporation has to run things according to our books. There were flyers going around talking about the back-to-school event without getting any permission from the corporation.”

“You cannot seek permission after you have advertised everything. You cannot have scant regard to the authority of the council (corporation) by putting up the council's property as [a] venue because you take people for granted. That is exactly what had taken place in this case,” Samuels argued further.

The mayor disclosed that the organisers had also failed to obtain a place of amusement licence and a police permit.

“Did he (Hayles) get permission from the police to do it? That is the question, because it is in the town and you are thinking about traffic management and all those things,”added Samuels.

“The protocol is, for you to get permission from the police, you would have to pay the relevant fees such as JCAP (Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers) and all those things, because the fact that you have artists attached to posters means that you will have to pay all those fees,” he explained.

A talent show segment of the fair had artists such as Krytical, Nepole and Kylo slated to perform.

Last year, the fair utilised the corporation's building and car park. However, the flyer circulated this year stated that the August 24 event was to be held at the “Hanover Municipal building” while the school medical was to be hosted at the nearby Lucea Methodist Church.

“The [application] letter came in after a decision was already taken that I will not sign off on this event because they had gone and chosen the council's property as a venue without seeking permission,” Samuels maintained.

Hanover Hope Foundation, which was formed about four years ago, stages three annual events — a back-to-school fair, a summer camp and an education symposium. This year's fair was rescheduled from Saturday to the following day, and relocated to Christian Fellowship Church.

Committee member Katrin Casserly told the Observer West that they were preparing for 400 students this year, however, this was scaled down to 200. The fair's entertainment package also had to be scaled down.

“It was like trying to make good with what we had at that time because we couldn't get the bounce-a-bout back. He (bounce-a-bout operator) was booked. We [also] couldn't do the talent show again. So, it wasn't the big event that it would usually be,” Casserly told the Observer West.

“There is really a desperate need out there for these back-to-school events. That is why it was so disappointing when the mayor pulled the public venue,” she added.

Casserly noted that Hanover Charities, which she chairs, provided backpacks and books for Hanover Foundation event, while Hayles provided book vouchers.

It is no secret that in recent months, the mayor — who is also councillor for the Cauldwell Division in Hanover Western and a former constituency secretary for Hanover Western under Hayles' leadership — and the MP have been at loggerheads over a number of issues.

But Samuels maintains that it had no bearing on the back-to-school decision, and reiterated that people planning to host events must abide by the law.

“It is not a given that whenever you come out and say that you are having a function... It doesn't matter what the nature of the function is; you are to abide by the law,” stated a strident Mayor Samuels.

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