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PM expected to name by-elections date soon

Published:Monday | July 31, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Horace Chang
Orrette Fisher

General Secretary of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr Horace Chang, says Prime Minister Andrew Holness will, this week, hold consultations with his colleagues to set a timetable for the holding of by-elections in the St Andrew South West and St Andrew South constituencies.

"The prime minister will consult with his colleagues and make that announcement pretty soon. The Government does not intend to play games with the seats," Chang emphasised in a Gleaner interview.

He added that Holness had given a commitment that he would not delay the by-elections unnecessarily.


Candidates identified


Chang indicated that the JLP has candidates to represent the party in the upcoming by-elections that are considered People's National Party (PNP) strongholds.

Leader of the Opposition, Dr Peter Phillips, says he expects by-elections to be called soon in the two constituencies, which are without representation in Parliament at this time.

Portia Simpson Miller, who represented St Andrew South West, and Dr Omar Davies, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for St Andrew South, both resigned as MPs on June 29.

"Both sets of citizens in each constituency are in need of representation," said Phillips, who argued that there are several issues, including back-to-school requirements, which will need the active participation of members of parliament in the two constituencies.

... EOJ says $40m to run by-elections

Director of Elections Orrette Fisher told The Gleaner yesterday that his office would be able to conduct by-elections in the St Andrew South West and St Andrew South constituencies within the context of the statutory time frame in which elections are called.

The law requires that nomination day be at least five clear days after the announcement of an election.

It also stipulates that the period between nomination day and election day be 16 (minimum) to 23 (maximum) days.

In terms of financial resources to run the by-elections, Fisher estimates that it would cost the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) a minimum of $40 million.

The EOJ boss said he would expect to receive the necessary funding from the Government to conduct the two polls.

He said the EOJ would use mainly staff as presiding officers, while the poll clerks would be recruited from the constituencies. He said while some may have worked as poll clerks before, the EOJ would provide training to ensure that they are ready for the task.

Leader of oppposition business in the Senate, Mark Golding, will represent the People's National Party (PNP) in St Andrew South, while vice-president of the PNP, Senator Angela Brown Burke, will run on the party's ticket in St Andrew South West.