[OPINIONS]:::Will the Hanover Parish Council be dissolved?

No. 51 Monday, February 08, 2010
[POSTED BY::: Craig Oates]
Will the Hanover Parish Council be dissolved? That is the question on the lips of most political pundits in the parish. The council is in a dire financial position. In an earlier interview with the Western Mirror Mayor Lloyd Hill, revealed that the Council financial position was on shaky ground.

    Hill who came to this discovery in January subsequently wrote a letter which was copied to Robert Montague, the minister of state in the Ministry of Local Government - the chairman noted that: "It is obvious that the financial affairs of the council are not being properly managed and the chairman and councilors were not being properly advised of the magnitude of the financial problems affecting the council."
    However, with recent developments at that local authority over the past few months tumulus to say the least it can be a safe bet to say things are bad both politically and financially. The blame game appears to have started with charges and counter charges been bandied about regarding how the councils money was actually spent.
    Allegations are that there are millions of dollars worth of unpaid bills due to employees and contractors some of which have not been paid since last year in some cases the banks have refused to encash cheques drawn on the council's accounts, due to massive overdraft. Additionally, the accounts department has had to be withholding cheques.
    On realizing what was happening Mayor Lloyd Hill sounded the alarm bells and asked numerous questions but before he could get an answer he was gone. Booted in a no confidence vote that saw two of his very own PNP, councilors teaming up with Jamaica Labour Party Councilors Lee and Edwards to replace him. Hill sought and obtained an injunction in the Supreme Court which reinstated him as Mayor pending a Judicial Review because it was felt that the by Laws of the Parish Council was not followed when the move was made to oust Hill.
    The move has gotten the two Councillors in trouble with the PNP who have taken the decision to suspend them from the executive of the Western Hanover Constituency. This however as not gone down well with Factions in the parish and is threatening to cause an explosive situation in the future.
    Mayor Hill is yet to get the support of the four councillors -- (Fedrecious Miller (PNP); Collville Allen (PNP); Easton Edwards (JLP); and Albert Lee (JLP) -- who voted him out of office on January 14.

   If the attendance at council meeting is anything to go by, then it would appear that problems are indeed on the .horizons none of the councillors who participated in the move to oust Hill have so far attended any of the two committee meetings -- physical, planning and infrastructure -- held on Tuesday and yesterday respectively after Hill was reinstated. One political watcher told this newspaper that if things continue like this nothing will be achieved at the council level which relies on these committee meetings to set policies. If this trend continues some intervention will most likely have to be made and under section 116 of the Parish Councils Act the Minister with responsibility for local Government Robert Montague can dissolve the council.
    Will the minister take these steps to dissolve the council? This remains to be seen, but it is the feeling on the ground that the councillors should behave in a manner which will see the job of serving the people for which they were elected continue in a professional manner. The minister would be empowered under the section of the act which states," If any parish council in the judgment of the minister is not competent to perform or persistently makes default in the performance of the duties lawfully imposed upon it or exceeds or abuses its powers, it shall be lawful for the minister by an order published in the gazette to dissolve such council."
    Will he or will he not? That is the million dollar question which has Hanoverians guessing.

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