FALMOUTH, Trelawny - UP to press time last night a decision was yet to be made on who will be sworn in today as the new mayor for the seaside town of Falmouth.
In Monday’s Local Government Election, the ruling People’s National Party (PNP) and the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) tied with four seats each in the nine member Trelawny Parish Council. The other division (Lorrimers) was won by independent candidate Paul Patmore, a former JLP loyalist who failed in his bid to contest the division on the JLP’s ticket.
But Patmore told the Observer West last night that he was willing to support Lloyd Gillings, the elected JLP councillor for the Albert Town division, to replace Colin Gager (JLP), as mayor of Falmouth.
“ The only person who I would support would be Mr Gillings and it has nothing to do with the JLP, it is just a personal thing. So if it is not him I wouldn’t cast a vote,” Patmore declared.
His decision has reportedly thrown the elected PNP councillors in the parish in a quandary, as they were hoping that Garth Wilkinson, the PNP councillor for the Falmouth division, would have received Patmore’s endorsement.
Earlier yesterday, an apparently confident Wilkinson told the Observer West that if given the nod he would immediately undertake a raft of projects in an effort to beautify the town.
“If elected the first priority will be to clean up the town. What we have in the town must complement the wharf (shipping pier),” said Wilkinson.
Other projects, he said that must be immediately be tackled are the construction of buildings to facilitate a new market; a craft market, and a transportation centre.
He added that work on the new Falmouth Police Station, which is now under construction, must be speeded up and rehabilitation work must commence on the Cornwall Street roadway.
In the meantime, Gillings has confirmed his willingness to throw his hat in the ring for the mayoral race.
“I have some interest (but) I haven’t spoken to the rest of councillors as yet, but I am going to talk to them later,” he told the Observer West.
He stressed that he would “go for it to give the JLP the only opportunity to take control of one council.”
The JLP lost the remaining 12 parish councils as well as the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) in Monday’s poll.
In the meantime, the town of Lucea is expected to get its first female mayor, as Shernett Haughton, the PNP councillor elect for the Green Island division in the constituency of Western Hanover is set to replace Lloyd Hill, who has been the mayor of that seaside town since 2007.
“Haughton would be a good choice; she has been very loyal to the party and has served well,” a PNP official in the parish told the Observer West yesterday.
Haughton is expected to have Anthony Walker, the PNP councillor elect for the Cauldwell division, also in the constituency of Western Hanover, as her deputy.
The PNP won five of the seven divisions up for grabs in Hanover in Monday’s polls.
Independent candidate for the Cauldwell division Lester Crooks, a former JLP mayor, and the JLP’s Devon Brown (Hopewell division) were also victorious.
But Crooks, who was seen among jubilant PNP supporters clad in an orange shirt emblazoned with the PNP’s logo in Lucea on Monday night, is expected to cross the floor to the ruling party as soon as the new council has its first sitting.
In Westmoreland, PNP councillor elect for the Negril division Bertel Moore is expected to be returned as mayor of Savanna-la-Mar.
Paul Wilson, councillor for the Frome division who has been serving as the deputy mayor of the town since 2007, is likely to be replaced by Danree De Lancey of the Bethel Town division.
The PNP won all the 14 divisions in the parish.
In the neighbouring parish of St Elizabeth where the PNP captured nine of the 15 parish council divisions to take control of the council, Donovan Pagon, the PNP councillor for the Braes River in the constituency of North East St Elizabeth, is likely to get the nod as mayor of Black River.
Pagan, who has been a councillor since 2003, is likely to have the PNP’s Mordant Mitchell of the Black River division as his deputy.
Meanwhile, PNP councillor for the Maroon Town division in St James Glendon Harris is tipped to become the next mayor of Montego Bay, replacing the JLP’s Charles Sinclair Jnr. He is expected to be sworn in today.
Harris, who is also president of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, has been the political elected representative in the division for roughly 24 years.
Since 2003, when the JLP took control of the council from the PNP, he has served as minority leader.
The veteran politician is among 13 successful PNP candidates who contested the 17 parish council divisions in St James.
Councillor for the Mount Salem division Averie Rosegreen, newcomer and former St James Parish Council community relations officer, Suzette Brown and longstanding councillor for the Granville division, Michael Troupe, are said to be frontrunners for the deputy mayor’s job.