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San Ignacio-Santa Elena Town Council at war: Mayor battles councilors

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Posted: Saturday, January 15, 2022. 8:32 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: It is the only municipal council with a mix of People’s United Party and United Democratic Party councilors – and one of the latter is the town Mayor, Earl Trapp.

And the San Ignacio-Santa Elena Town Council has been navigating choppy waters since its election last March, with Mayor Trapp publicly accusing the PUP councilors of scheming to fire Town Council workers.

Now, the Council is at war over multiple issues, including the appointment of a town administrator and allegations of nepotism on the part of Mayor Trapp.

Mayor Trapp has opposed the proposing hiring of the council’s majority pick for town administrator, Horace Grant, whom he says is least qualified academically with only a high school diploma, as opposed to others under consideration. He does, however, have years of experience.

The majority of members responded in a press briefing at Independence Hall, flanked by PUP chairman Henry Charles Usher.

According to Deputy Mayor Matthew Preston, “We went through due process. We had, I think, between thirteen to fifteen applicants. We brought it down to six, we had interviews with them, we had a point system and the aforementioned, well the name that the media is putting about saying that he is not qualified. This individual, he has over twenty-five years working in the ministries in the government. He has accounting training in courses from the World Bank. I noh sure if dis da something weh di man fraid fa. Like we said, he’s hiding a lot of information. But if you notice, and he failed to mention that there was a past councilor, it looks like he wants that previous councilor who was a part of the UDP team, who was a UDP senator. Is that what they want, they want control?”

Preston added that the mayor himself is guilty of alleged nepotism, hiring various family members for key positions with the Council – and the town is paying them an estimated a quarter million Belize dollars with family entitlement of a monthly average of four thousand dollars overtime.

Councilor Aaron Mai, quoting the Town Council Act, stated that “a suitably qualified person” shall be appointed “who shall assist the mayor in the day-to-day management of the employees of the affairs of the council and the town.”

Usher concurred, asking, “…why is he afraid of Horace Grant? What will this new town administrator find when he gets into office and what the mayor has been doing over the last years that he has been as mayor? So really, the issue or the question at hand is not about a dispute between the five town councilors and the mayor, it’s about the mayor operating within the confines of the Town Council Act and he has not been doing that…”

Trapp issued his response at a UDP briefing later on this week; we will have that in a separate story.

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