The Attorney General’s Chamber has advised the Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie that the election of a Deputy Mayor by JLP Councillors in St Thomas was lawful.
This was disclosed in a statement to the media today from the Ministry of Local Government.
The PNP Councillors, who boycotted the swearing in ceremony in early December, have threatened to take the matter to court arguing that the JLP acted in breach of the law and a long standing convention.
In the statement, Minister McKenzie says the actions of the JLP Councillors in choosing both a Mayor and Deputy Mayor from their ranks were entirely lawful.
He says the advice from the Attorney General’s Chambers concluded that in electing a Deputy Mayor of the St Thomas Municipal Corporation, the Councillors acted in a manner that was consisted with the Representation of the People Act.
Minister McKenzie says in failing to attend the Swearing-In ceremony, the PNP candidates themselves breached a long-standing convention by refusing to be sworn.
He says they’ve further breached the trust of those who elected them.
Minister McKenzie is now urging the five successful PNP candidates in St Thomas to take the oath of office to become Councillors in order to participate in the Municipal Corporation.
He says he isn’t averse to discussing the matter with the Opposition.
Minister McKenzie is however insisting that it’s negotiation and not litigation that will resolve the matter.
The PNP and JLP were successful in five divisions in the November 28 local government election.