Jamaica gov’t orders investigation into flag fiasco

(Jamaica Observer) The Government yesterday sacked one of its special assistants and opened a probe into the role of the secretary/manager of the St James Parish Council in the flag fiasco, as public anger grew over what many have described as a desecration of one of Jamaica’s national symbols at a civic ceremony.

Local Government Minister Noel Arscott said that special assistant Courtney Hume, who is alleged to have instructed the decorator to leave the green out of a stage backdrop designed to depict the Jamaican flag at the March 29 swearing-in ceremony of new St James councillors, has resigned.

“Our investigations have revealed that his involvement in organising the function, whether he instructed the decorator or not, was not authorised,” said Arscott. “Mr Hume’s resignation has been accepted by the relevant office with immediate effect, and we thank him for his service.”

At the same time, Arscott said that he has asked the Parish Council Services Commission to investigate the role and responsibility of Secretary/Manager Winston Palmer and his staff in the matter.

Arscott’s statement came hours after former Montego Bay mayor and minority leader in the St James Parish Council Charles Sinclair Jnr denied a claim by new mayor Glendon Harris that the function was planned by Sinclair’s administration.

“I wish to unreservedly refute claims by newly sworn mayor and chairman of the St James Parish Council, Mr Glendon Harris, that my administration participated in the planning of the councillors’ swearing ceremony on the 29th March, 2012 at the Montego Bay Civic Centre,” Sinclair said in a statement issued late Friday night.

“Neither I nor any of the other three Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillors were consulted or formally invited to the event; we were merely advised after I made a call to the secretary/manager, Mr Winston Palmer, [inquiring about] the date and time of the event. The only request made of me was to participate in the robing of my successor, to which I acceded,” Sinclair said.

His statement deepened the controversy over the foul-up which was first reported by the Jamaica Observer last Wednesday.

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