PNP councillors face questions about lotto scam
MONTEGO BAY, St James — MONTEGO Bay's deputy mayor Michael Troupe is one of the two People's National Party (PNP) councillors from St James who were taken into police custody during simultaneous raids, led by the Lotto Scam Task Force, yesterday.
The other councillor is Sylvan Reid, who represents the Salt Spring Division.
Two of Troupe's sons were also among the five people altogether, taken in by the police during the operations, which were supported by members of the Major Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Task Force, the Jamaica Defence Force, the Customs Enforcement Team, the Anti-Corruption Branch, and the Mobile Reserve.
The raids — carried out in Granville, Cornwall Courts and Rosedale Estate in the parish — also yielded an illegal 9mm pistol with a magazine loaded with five live rounds.
In addition, more than US$10,000 and J$380,000 were reportedly found at the 56-year-old deputy mayor's Granville home in a room occupied by one of his sons, who has since claimed responsibility for the firearm.
That son is expected to be charged with illegal possession of firearm.
According to the police, two high-end motor vehicles, including a 2008 Toyota Crown were also seized from Troupe's home.
During the raid at a location at Rosedale Estate in Montego Bay, the deputy mayor's other son, who is suspected of being involved in the lottery scam, was also taken into custody.
The raid at Reid's Cornwall Courts home turned up uncustomed items, including large plasma televisions, which were also seized.
He was taken into custody after he reportedly refused to speak to the police in the absence of his attorney. A Honda Civic motor car was also seized from the first-time councillor's premises.
It is not clear at what point the fifth person was taken in. However, up to late yesterday evening, all five were being held for questioning by the police.
Meanwhile, there was a strong outpouring of support for Troupe, who has been the councillor for the Granville Division inside West Central St James since 1997.
Steel-faced JDF members stood beside the heavily guarded open-back truck in which the deputy mayor and one of his sons were placed to keep the councillor's supporters at bay.
"We are really saddened by the turn of events," a well known PNP supporter told the Observer West.
One woman, who cried openly when she saw her councillor being escorted by a member of the secutity forces into the waiting truck, was among those who lauded Troupe.
"Mr Troupe is a good representative of the people in and around the community. He has represented us well and that is why we are out here this morning in support, to let him know that he is not alone. We are here with him," she said.
"Whatever happens, we want him to know that we are faithful to him because he has always been faithful to us. We will stay by his side because this is the first this has ever happened; he has never let us down," the woman added.
Troupe, who put on a brave face, tried to assure his supporters that he would be fine.
"Mi good! Mi good!" he shouted to them.
But despite his expressions of confidence, Troupe was overheard reprimanding his son who sat beside him in handcuffs.
"This is what you bring me down to. You realise this is what you bring me down to?" he said.