JIS News

Story Highlights

  • A Bill to validate and indemnify the official activities of the Portmore Municipal Council and the Acting Mayor, Leon Thomas, was passed in the Senate on July 25.
  • The Municipalities (Validation and Amendment) Act was piloted by Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding.
  • Mr. Thomas has been acting in the post of Mayor since the passing of Mr. George Lee in September, 2013. Under the law, he should not have acted in that position for more than six months.

A Bill to validate and indemnify the official activities of the Portmore Municipal Council and the Acting Mayor, Leon Thomas, was passed in the Senate on July 25.

The Municipalities (Validation and Amendment) Act was piloted by Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding.

Mr. Thomas has been acting in the post of Mayor since the passing of Mr. George Lee in September, 2013. Under the law, he should not have acted in that position for more than six months.

Mr. Golding noted that the Bill ensures confidence in the legitimate continuity of local government at this level “by specifying the process to be implemented where the Mayor or Deputy Mayor of a municipality is not capable of carrying out his or her functions for reasons stated in the Municipalities Act.”

“In relation to this, the Bill removes the longstanding area of uncertainty affecting decision making in the council by conferring specific voting rights on a persons who presides over a meeting of a municipality or any of its committees as is the norm in relation to Boards and corporate bodies of all types,” he explained.

Passage of the legislation also removes the need for a by-election, thereby allowing Mr. Thomas to act as Mayor until the next Local Government elections.

Mr. Golding further explained that the Bill addresses an anomaly affecting representation on the Portmore Municipal Council of the elected representatives of two divisions, namely Greater Portmore North and Portmore Pines, that lie within the Municipality of Portmore.

“Those two Councillors have thus far not being able to sit on the Council, even though the majority of the voters in their division reside in Portmore. This is being corrected by a provision to allow a Councillor to sit on the Council, if electors for the poling divisions within his or her electoral division, that are situated entirely within the municipality’s boundaries collectively, amount to over 50 per cent of the total number of electors for that electoral division,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, Senator Angela Brown Burke said passage of the Bill is in keeping with the “will of the people.”

“I am extremely pleased that we have sought to ensure that the (people) of Portmore Pines and Greater Portmore North are going to have representation in the Portmore Municipality,” Senator Brown Burke said.

The Bill was passed without any amendments.