DaSilva, Francis  in clash over  Mountain Top sign
October 1, 2010
DaSilva, Francis in clash over Mountain Top sign

The manager of Mountain Top Spring Water, a local water bottling company, is claiming that General Secretary of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) Julian Francis has behaved in a thuggish manner by removing a sign frame from its location at Richmond Hill.{{more}}

On Wednesday, September 29, Ken DaSilva visited SEARCHLIGHT’s office decrying the actions of Francis, who he claims acted outside of his authority.

“I consider this in a country that is supposed to be a country of laws, that the behaviour of Julian Francis is thuggish and totally unacceptable in a country such as ours.”

DaSilva said that the original sign, which had been in that location for more than five years, was knocked down when a vehicle crashed into it on the early hours of August 28, 2010.

The vehicle which crashed into the sign was driven by Charmaine Francis, the sister-in-law of the ULP General Secretary.

“It is worthy to say that I have not heard from Bradley Francis (brother of Julian Francis), who owns Franco (construction) that owns the car that knocked over the sign,” DaSilva noted.

“They have not offered to pay for the sign, nor contacted me in any way about the sign.”

DaSilva went on to state that he contacted Multigraphics Limited in relation to having the sign reinstalled at his own expense, and the company went to the location just outside of ULP headquarters on Tuesday, September 28, to install the metal frame on which the signs would be hung.

“Around two o’ clock on Tuesday, Kensley Dougan, the chairman of Physical Planning Board, called me to say that I am putting up a sign, and that is not legal to just put up a sign, and I need to re-apply to Planning to have a sign re-erected in the same spot.”

“He said he just got a call from Julian Francis to say that they are putting up the sign as we speak and he don’t want the sign to go back there because the party headquarters is directly behind it.”

DaSilva said that he asked the Chairman if he was calling on behalf of Planning or as a ‘party man’, but Dougan said that he had spoken on the previous day (Monday) to Anthony Bowman, the Town Planner, who had informed him that DaSilva was about to replace the sign.

“He said the party headquarters was not pleased about that and why I don’t look for somewhere else to put the sign.

“The sign has been there for five or six years and I never heard any complaints,” DaSilva added.

According to DaSilva, he informed the Chairman that he would have to be informed in writing about the decision of the Physical Planning Board.

In the meantime, the frame that had been installed at the location by Multigraphics Limited was removed from its foundation on Tuesday night and placed on the edge of the sidewalk. ULP’s ‘Starlight’ truck has been parked where the sign had been located.

Calls to Physical Planning, as well as efforts to contact Dougan, proved futile, but SEARCHLIGHT got in touch with ULP General Secretary Francis, who said that his actions were in the best interest of his political party.

“It was an obstruction to traffic when you are entering and exiting the party office,” Francis told SEARCHLIGHT.

“I took advantage of the sign being knocked out and I wrote to Physical Planning the day after the incident indicating to them that I am objecting to any sign being placed in front of the commercial property of the ULP. It is only fair that if there is a sign to be put there it should be of the ULP.”

The ULP Senator said that it was his understanding that Physical Planning were to inform DaSilva of the decision to disallow another sign to be constructed in the location, and that he had called DaSilva to inform him of his intentions.

Francis added that the Starlight truck was parked in the spot to show that he had done what is necessary to uphold the position of Physical Planning.

“I don’t think Mr. DaSilva would like me to place a ULP billboard in front of the business place of Mountain Top. I am sure he will object to it.”

Francis also acknowledged that it was his sister-in-law who demolished the original sign, and noted that the owner of Mountain Top is in fact his brother’s brother-in-law, but said that although the incident involved family members, it was entirely a business situation.

He further suggested that the sign could be placed in a higher position, past the front of the headquarters.

Meanwhile, DaSilva indicated that he was awaiting correspondence from Physical Planning on their decision, and expects the Unity Labour Party to put back the sign in its rightful position.

“If Planning had a legitimate reason, they would have contacted me and we would have agreed on a new placement where I could put the sign.”

“The signs are where my advertising is and we spend a lot of money in billboard advertising.

“I see his (Francis) behaviour as more like a gangster type operation than a legitimate government in action.”