DEPUTY Mayor of Montego Bay and People's National Party (PNP) councillor Michael Troupe was offered bail in the sum of $500,000 yesterday, when he faced the Western Regional Gun Court on charges of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
The deputy mayor was charged last week after he and another PNP councillor, Sylvan Reid, along with three other men -- including Troupe's two sons -- were taken into police custody following a series of raids by the Lottery Scam Task Force.
The raids -- conducted at Troupe's home in Granville as well as in the Cornwall Courts and Rosevale communities -- reportedly turned up, among other things, an illegal firearm and ammunition in addition to a large sum of United States and Jamaican dollars.
As Troupe went before the court yesterday, scores of jubilant supporters -- many of them clad in orange-coloured shirts, some of them with the PNP councillor's image -- descended on the courthouse.
"Free the man! Free the man! He is a good man!" yelled one supporter.
"Right now, me a Labourite and me have to come out fi support Councillor Troupe because guess what? Him is a good man to everybody -- Labourite, PNP, everybody. Him nuh business who is who; a people councillor," a young woman, claiming to be a supporter of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, told the Observer West.
"We want him fi free up. Without him, mi pickney book them can't buy," she added.
Troupe's son Jevaughn, 21, who appeared alongside him before the Gun Court -- presided over by Justice Martin Gayle -- pleaded guilty to possession of firearm and was remanded into custody.
He is scheduled to return to court next Tuesday when sentencing will be handed down.
The deputy mayor will also return to court on that day to answer the charges laid against him.
The second PNP councillor -- charged with the unlawful possession of property following last week's raid -- was himself granted bail when he appeared before the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court earlier this week. His bail sum was $250,000.
Since the two councillors' arrest, there have been calls for their resignation. The PNP responded last weekend by announcing that Troupe had instead taken a leave of absence. There is no word yet on the Reid's political future.
Charges related to the billion-dollar lottery scam has not been brought against any of them, despite ongoing investigations by the Lottery Scam Task Force.
Yesterday, Leonard Green, the deputy mayor's lead attorney, was quick to point out that his client is only facing charges of illegal possession of firearm and ammunition.
"Remember we only know of two charges before the court. One for illegal possession of firearm and the other for illegal possession of ammunition. We know of no other charges before the court," he stressed.
"As far as we are concerned, we see no basis for further charges. The police claim that they are continuing their investigation; that they should do. That is their right. Any allegation that they bring forward, we are prepared to defend vigorously," Green added.
At the same time, he had high praise for his team.
"I just want to take the opportunity to congratulate the team of lawyers who worked with me in this matter; my good friend Clive Mullings, Clive Duncans and Nicole Allen. We have been working very diligently this week to make sure Mr Troupe gets bail and we are delighted that he has been offered bail," Green told reporters.
"So far, so good. We expect that in due course Mr Michael Troupe will be fully exonerated," he added.
Meanwhile the other two men arrested in the raids last week -- Dwight Troupe and his cousin Ricardo Jarrett --were offered bail on Tuesday when they, like Reid, appeared in the Montego Bay RM Court on charges of unlawful possession of property.