'My hands are clean'
Sinclair distances himself from unauthorised cell towers
SINCLAIR... a major service provider placed the tower on private property with the owner’s consent, but not the approval of the municipal corporation

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Making it clear that he had no part in its installation, Councillor Charles Sinclair (Jamaica Labour Party, Montego Bay North East Division) is calling for the removal of an "unauthorised cell tower" that was placed in the Coral Gardens section of his division.

"I have been sent messages… saying somebody in authority cause the tower to be there. Well I want to declare that my hands are clean because I do not approve anything," said Sinclair, who is also a Government senator.

He was speaking during Thursday's monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation.

"The people who I represent out there have said the tower must come down. It is in breach. No proper survey was done and the Supreme Court of Jamaica has stated how community surveys must be done. Why hasn't a prosecution of the matter commenced? Because I am not going to have anybody, in any subtle or diplomatic way, try to say that somebody in authority — [which] could possibly include me — cause it to be there. I have declared my hand publicly that 'Mi nuh involve inna it,' " the councillor stated.

According to Sinclair, a major service provider placed the tower on private property with the owner's consent, but not the approval of the municipal corporation. He said the move, which he described as "commercial activity" taking place in an area zoned for residential use, has irked "the majority of persons who reside in the area".

In his response, mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Leeroy Williams said resolution will be sought between the service provider and the municipal corporation during a scheduled meeting.

"I know for sure that the cell tower at Coral Gardens is there because I have seen it, and so that matter needs to be resolved. I have called a meeting with the service provider for Monday afternoon at 2:00 and we are hoping that some sort of resolution can come out of that. Councillor Sinclair has brought some technicalities to the fore that I think us, as a municipality, need to look into," the mayor said.

However, Sinclair questioned the rationale behind that approach.

"What is the purpose of the meeting on Monday? Is the service provider going to come here and say, 'We know we did the thing illegally but give wi a likkle bly' ? Who is going to be at that meeting? Because I was never invited to no meeting, and it is my division," he pointed out.

Mayor Williams then advised that he had spoken with representatives of the telecoms provider after noticing a third unauthorised cell tower being built in Rosemount Gardens. He said the municipal corporation has placed stop orders on the cell towers.

"When I contacted [the service provider], the gentleman I spoke to said that it is the subcontractor who is putting up the tower without any permission," Williams stated.

Unimpressed, Sinclair said the municipal corporation should "show some teeth" in dealing with the issue.

"We must stop having persons who perceive themselves as being mighty and powerful… overstep the bounds. These are things that lead to the perception that something corrupt is taking place," he said.

BY ROCHELLE CLAYTON Observer staff reporter claytonr@jamaicaobserver.com

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