Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Fixed dates for by-elections - Phillips wants to set deadline for local polls

Published:Monday | September 18, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Dr Peter Phillips (centre), president of the People's National Party, is flanked by former party presidents PJ Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller.

President of the People's National Party (PNP), Dr Peter Phillips, is vowing that a future Government led by his party would change the present law to fix the date, within a specific time, for the holding of by-elections to fill vacancies in Parliament.

According to Phillips, if this is done, "no prime minister will be able to play games with the calling of by-elections".

Addressing the party faithful yesterday during the PNP's 79th annual conference at the National Arena, Phillips suggested that Prime Minister Andrew Holness has reneged on a commitment to name a date for by-elections in St Andrew.

"The window for these assurances has already passed and no date has been announced," he added.

Phillips said the Opposition has made it clear to the Government that the people of the three constituencies without a member of parliament urgently need representation.

He contended that parents need assistance to give their children the best start as they go back to school. Further, Phillips said the people in all three constituencies "need a champion to advocate for their road repairs, their water supply, health centres and all the things people need to get on with their lives".

The constituencies where by-elections are to be called are St Mary South East, St Andrew South and St Andrew South West.

Former MP for St Mary South East, Dr Winston Green, died, while Portia Simpson Miller, who represented St Andrew South West, has retired. Dr Omar Davies has also retired as MP for St Andrew South.

Describing the PNP's Dr Shane Alexis, who will run on the party's ticket in St Mary South East, as a "young lion", Phillips said the medical practitioner has devoted himself to the service of people and the wider country.

Phillips said at the end of conference that the party will hit the road to ensure that Alexis gets the opportunity to complete the job started by the late MP Green.

Dr Norman Dunn, of the Jamaica Labour Party, will challenge Alexis when a by-election is called for the constituency.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com