Lucea mayor blasts police, NWC for non-attendance at meetings
LUCEA, Hanover — Chairman of the Hanover Municipal Corporation and Mayor of Lucea Sheridan Samuels has made good on his promise to boycott a meeting in the parish – which he said was called by the police – in protest against the absence of representatives of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) at the corporation’s regular monthly meetings.
During last Thursday’s sitting of the corporation, Mayor Samuels harshly criticised agencies in Hanover, which he said have failed to send representatives at regular monthly meetings over an extended period of time.
Among the agencies singled out by the mayor were the National Water Commission and the JCF.
He told the meeting that he would not be attending a function planned for last Friday with the police who, he stressed, have failed to attend municipal meetings.
“The police. The police. The police with the crime situation right now ... and I haven’t seen any police representative coming to this meeting.
But, yet, they [are] inviting me to a meeting tomorrow morning 10 o’clock [last week Friday] down by Watson Taylor Park,” said Mayor Samuels.
“Mi not going. Mi not going. Yeah, mi not going, mi not going. Agree, councillors? … so, put it in the minutes that it has been mentioned and we decided that councillors instructed me not to go,” quipped Samuels to an outburst of laughter from those in attendance at the meeting.
On Tuesday, Mayor Samuels confirmed with the Jamaica Observer West that he did not attend the meeting.
But in a quick response, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) assigned to the Hanover Police Division, Ainsley McCarthy, who described the mayor’s criticism of the Hanover police at the meeting as “unfortunate,” said that the mayor “got it all wrong”.
“The police did not invite the mayor to a meeting, so the mayor had it all wrong. The mayor was invited to a meeting by the Ministry of National Security and Justice, which is in the process of revamping the parish’s consultative committee. The custos was invited, the mayor was invited, along with other people. So it is unfortunate that the mayor would have made such a statement. Very, very unfortunate,” said DSP McCarthy.
DSP McCarthy admitted, however, that he was unable to attend last Thursday’s regular monthly meeting of the corporation.
“It is a meeting that we have always been to, and we are there whenever we are called upon. So, if the mayor sees it fit, as the person entrusted with running of the parish council [municipal corporation] for this parish, to make those comments that he is invited to a meeting and he is not going anywhere, [then] that is the mayor’s problem, because we did not invite him to a meeting, it’s the Ministry of National Security that is in the process of revamping the consultative committee in all the parishes invited him to a meeting,” DSP McCarthy argued.
Meanwhile, in his broadside against agencies such as the NWC, which sometimes do not send representatives to the corporation’s regular monthly meetings, Mayor Samuels charged that “probably the NWC don’t have anything to report to us about, because they don’t care”.
“When we come here and NWC is not here … we speak about the water situation within the parish itself. Probably, if they [NWC] were here, they could probably assist us in some shape or form..,” Mayor Samuels argued.
“The schools are without water. We could call upon them if they are at the meeting, then we could get the report and then we will know... probably they don’t have anything to report to us about, because they don’t care. They don’t care about us. So, they don’t have anything to report to us.”
CEO of the Hanover Municipal Corporation, David Gardner, then suggested that a meeting be sought with the NWC.
Mayor Samuels in the meantime expressed fear that “it may reach a point where no agency will show up for meetings”.
The Hanover Municipal Corporation is controlled by the Opposition People’s National Party.