Sav mayor puts off vacation; deputy mayor stand-off continues
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar Bertel Moore did not go off on vacation on Monday as he had indicated he would when he left written instructions that ousted deputy mayor Delacree Delancy would be in charge.
Meanwhile, both Delancy and Ian Myles — who was voted in as his replacement — were both at work, each still adamant that he is the deputy mayor.
As he appeared in office shortly before noon, Myles told the Jamaica Observer everything was going smoothly. He worked from the office of the deputy mayor which he laid claim to on Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“I am the deputy mayor. What they are doing is playing politics. [The injunction] is not a legitimate document. It doesn’t even have a date,” Myles argued.
However Delancy, who is adamant that Myles was not legitimately installed as there was no one in authority to administer the oath of office to him on July 13, said he too was at work.
“Yes, I am the deputy mayor. Has another person been sworn into that position and was that person administered the oath of office?” Delancy said in response to questions from the Observer. “If a ceremony did take place, it could not have been legit. There was no one possessing that authority to administer the oath of office.”
Even if Myles were at work, Delancy told the Observer, that would be of no matter to him, a person who avoids confrontation as he goes about his routine duties of signing cheques and documents. Asked specifically to say whether he had used the office Myles commandeered on Friday, Delancy said, “I was at the office taking care of some matters.”
The next big move in the ongoing squabble is Friday’s case in the Supreme Court where an injunction has been filed to prevent Myles from becoming the deputy mayor. Moore is now expected to go on vacation next week. On Monday, asked if his presence in office meant he was not on vacation, the mayor cryptically told the Observer, “Put it that way.”
This has all stemmed from infighting within the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) that spilled over into a power struggle for control of the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation.
Moore, who is councillor for the Negril Division, is a member of the PNP. Myles, who represents the Little London Division, was elected on a PNP ticket but is one of three councillors who resigned from the party to register their objection to Ian Hayles representing the PNP in Westmoreland Western during the next general election. Moore had been expected to be the fourth resignation that day, but he did not join Myles, Garfield James (Sheffield Division), and Lawton McKenzie (Grange Hill Division) at the press conference. With the resignations, the PNP now has five seats in the municipal corporation, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has four, and three councillors are independent.
At the July 13 meeting of the corporation, the three independent councillors voted with the four who had been elected on a JLP ticket to remove Delancy in a no-confidence vote that they said was based on non-performance. Minister of Local Government and Community Development Desmond McKenzie was among those watching from the sidelines as the councillors argued over who was right, based on existing legislation.
Ultimately, Mayor Moore ruled that the legislation allowed Myles to be voted in as deputy mayor. But a document later surfaced indicating that an injunction was filed in the Supreme Court on July 27 barring Myles from taking office. He has shrugged off the document, questioning its authenticity.