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PM to sign off on local gov't election date this week

Published:Thursday | October 27, 2016 | 12:29 AM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to settle on a date for the local government polls this week, after holding crucial meetings with Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie and the chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Robert Montague.

Local government elections are due by December, based on laws passed last year when the elections were previously due.

The JLP's general secretary, Dr Horace Chang, told The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre yesterday that if the elections are to be held this year, the prime minister has to make the decision this week.

He said this would ensure that funds are allocated in the supplementary budget which is to go before Parliament the first week of November.

No money was set aside for local government polls in the 2016-2017 National Budget that was approved in May.

Chang declined to say whether Holness was considering the elections for late next month or early December, the time periods many are speculating for the polls.

Meanwhile, the general secretary said the party's election machinery is ready and all 227 candidates are in place.

Last month, the People's National Party (PNP) campaign director for local government elections, Noel Arscott, said all its candidates were in place.

Arscott said then that the party would again sweep all 14 parish councils it won in the last local government polls in March 2012.

However, the JLP will be banking on the momentum from its shock general election win, the removal of auxiliary fees and the tax break to help it win some of the councils.

The Electoral Office of Jamaica has been advertising for election day workers.