• Today
    August 17

  • 10:04 PM

JLP on 21-day election watch

Reuters,

Added 11 January 2016

andrewholnessleadstoryp

Andrew Holness, leader of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party. (FP)

KINGSTON – Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidates expect that the date of the next general election will be announced in the next 21 days, which could mean going to the polls before the start of the next fiscal year, April 1.

Under the law, there must be a minimum of five clear days between the announcement of an election and Nomination Day; and 16 to 23 days between Nomination Day and the election.

“Today, our candidates have been placed on a 21-day election watch. An election can be called 21 days from wherever you are, so they have been made aware of this,” Opposition Leader Andrew Holness told a press briefing at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston yesterday.

“They have responded well; they are back in the field and are doing what is necessary to be prepared and stay prepared for an election,” added Holness, who called the impromptu press briefing during a break in the party’s constituency leadership meeting, where candidates participated in workshops geared toward preparing them for the pending election.

A source close to the core of the People’s National Party (PNP) told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday that Prime Minister Simpson Miller is expected to announce the election date in two weeks’ time.

The election is constitutionally due in December of this year, but both major political parties were in full election mode toward the end of 2015 as it was widely expected that Simpson Miller would have announced a December date. However, the prime minister brought all electioneering to a halt when, in November, she announced at a meeting in Black River, St Elizabeth, that she would not announce a date before the publishing of the November 30 voters’ list.

“The youths of Jamaica should be given an equal opportunity to have a say in the way their country is governed,” Simpson Miller was quoted as saying then. She also said at the time that she was waiting on God to tell her when the election should be held.

The prime minister’s decision led to renewed calls for a fixed election date, with some arguing that the build-up was costly to taxpayers — in terms of money spent to prepare election workers, among other things — and disruptive to businesses.

Notwithstanding Simpson Miller’s pronouncements, political pundits have speculated that the real reason could be found in unfavourable poll numbers and the infighting within her party. It had also been argued in some quarters that the build-up to the expected December polls was a ploy for the JLP to expend its meagre resources so that it will be at a disadvantage by the time the actual date is announced.

The JLP has seen its own protracted infighting threatening to rip the party to shreds, as some in the party banded together in an unsuccessful effort to oust Holness as leader. The divide is said to have resulted in financial backers pulling away from the party. But yesterday, JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang, who, along with Chairman Robert Montague, also participated in the press briefing, said “the JLP is united, strong and organised” and “ready and capable” of forming the next government.

One of its election preparation strategies, Holness said, is to court uncommitted voters, who represent 30 per cent of registered voters, and who vote on issues instead of party allegiance. (Reuters)

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Dos and Donts


Welcome to our discussion forum here on nationnews.com. We encourage lively debate, but we also urge you to take note of the following:

  • Stay on topic – This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.
  • Be respectful – Meeting differences of opinion with civil discussion encourages multiple perspectives and a positive commenting environment.
  • Do not type in capitals – In addition to being considered “shouting” it is also difficult to read.
  • All comments will be moderated – Given the volume of comments each day, this may take some time. So please be patient.
  • We reserve the right to remove comments – Comments that we find to be abusive, spam, libellous, hateful, off-topic or harassing may be removed.
  • Reproduction of comments – Some of your comments may be reproduced on the website or in our daily newspapers. We will use the handle, not your email address.
  • Do not advertise – Please contact our Advertising Department.
  • Contact our Online Editor if you have questions or concerns.
  • Read our full Commenting Policy and Terms of Use.
comments powered by Disqus

POLL

Do you think that marijuana should be legalised only for medical and scientific purposes?

Yes
No

FRONT COVER OF TODAY'S NEWSPAPER

CARTOON

INSTAGRAM