Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (JIS)
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Kingston – Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday named September 3, as the date for the 18th general election since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944.
Speaking in Parliament, Holness said Nomination Day will be Tuesday, August 18.
“I have advised the Governor General to dissolve parliament on August 13. The Governor General is expected to take the necessary steps to dissolve the parliament by proclamation. Mr, Speaker I now see it necessary to seek another mandate from the people of Jamaica . . . this government is not unmindful of the public debate that has surrounded the calling of an election.
“This Government believes firmly in modernising the institutions of our democracy. In calling the election at this time, this Government is not being unusual in practice. In fact, most governments have called the elections before the due date. We continue however, as the government to maintain our aspirations towards a fixed election date. There are, however, legal and constitutional considerations that have arisen and we remain committed to pursuing this.”
In keeping with his promise that no State of Public Emergency (SOE) would be in existence during the election, the Prime Minister had earlier moved a resolution in the House of Representatives to end the states of emergency.
The SOEs have been imposed in the western parishes of Hanover, St James and Westmoreland, the central parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine as well as sections of the Corporate Area – Kingston East, Kingston Central, Kingston Western, and St Andrew South police divisions.
Holness, in making reference to the novel coronavirus (COVD-19) pandemic and the economy, expressed confidence that Jamaica is on the right path towards recovery.
“When we were confronted with the twin problem of keeping the people safe, recovering the economy and figuring out how to treat the notion of an election, I was very early in saying that I would not contemplate an election unless we had measures in place to continue the proper management of the pandemic.
“Mr Speaker we are at that point . . . but what I am satisfied with, is that our private sector has been fully mobilised and they themselves are very eager of getting on with the business of recovery. So I have no doubt in my mind that Jamaica will recover stronger. I have no doubt in my mind that we will build back stronger. I have not doubt in my mind that under this administration in partnership with the people of Jamaica we will achieve the prosperity in the new Jamaica that we all want to see.”
Holness also highlighted some of the achievements of his administration.
In the last general election, the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won 33 of the 63 seats contested with the remainder going to the People’s National Party (PNP). (CMC)