Jamaica Gleaner / Western Bureau:
The opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is taking issue with the manner in which the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) acted in slapping a three-month suspension on Councillor Michael Troupe, of the Granville division, describing it as a “kangaroo court” approach.
In a release over the signature of Dr Angela Brown Burke, the PNP’s shadow minister of local government, the party described the decision to suspend Troupe, who is a former deputy mayor of Montego Bay, as highly irregular as it was done along partisan lines as the 13 Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillors supported the resolution to suspend him, while the four PNP councillors voted against it.
“The party takes serious issue with this kangaroo court approach, which was not in strict adherence to due process and natural justice,” stated Brown-Burke. “[The] vote was highly irregular and does not appear to have met the most basic of requirements.”
Brown-Burke further noted that while Troupe, who is the minority leader in the StJMC, was aware of the resolution, he was never presented with the facts of the allegation to formulate a proper defence.
NO CHANCE TO REPLY
“While Councillor Troupe was aware of the resolution, which was tabled on January 11, 2018, neither he nor the other PNP councillors were presented with the particulars of the allegations until during the debate yesterday,” said Brown-Burke. “This clearly breached several rules as it would not have afforded him the opportunity to put forward a proper defence.”
In zooming in on the kangaroo court assertion, Brown-Burke argued that what took place was tantamount to an abuse of power, which the party plans to challenge, albeit not stating in what way.
“At a minimum, charging and sentencing an individual in these circumstances is a breach of due process and the principles of natural justice and is tantamount to an abuse of power driven by crass partisan political motives,” said Brown-Burke. “The party is currently in consultation to formulate an approach to this latest development.”
… Not going to waste the time
Councillor Michael Troupe apparently earned the wrath of his JLP colleagues at the StJMC when it was discovered that he had signed a document authorising payment to his former secretary for work done up to October 31, 2017, three months after he said she had walked off the job.
In declaring that Troupe had brought the StJMC into disrepute, the councillors, who had taken the decision to suspend him, described their actions as sending a strong message to persons affiliated to the corporation that they would face decisive action whenever and wherever questionable conduct is detected.
“I am not going to waste the time, I will be spending the three months with the people in my division,” said Troupe, who jokingly told those who had suspended “thanks” before exiting the council chamber.