No deal! - Candidates face-off unlikely before October 30 by-elections
It appears that Jamaicans will not get to hear any debates involving the candidates to contest the three by-elections on October 30 even though both major political parties have indicated a willingness to clash.
Last Friday, Dr Norman Dunn, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate for the South East St Mary, called for a debate hosted by the Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC) and indicated his willingness to go toe to toe with Dr Shane Alexis, who is expected to be nominated by the People's National Party to contest the seat.
According to Dunn, he is a firm believer in the system of democracy and is in full support of the mission of the JDC, "which is to strengthen and grow the democratic process".
He argued that the people of South East St Mary need to make an informed decision on election day and the best way to do this is to have both candidates debate on a fair platform.
Confidence in Debates Commission
"The people of South East St Mary deserve to see their options. I am ready to debate the issues if the candidate from the People's National Party accepts the challenge," said Dunn.
"The debates commission did exceptionally well in planning the Local Government Debates, and I am confident in their ability to organise a debate for the upcoming election. There is a lot of talking going around but if the PNP is willing to debate the issues then I am ready!" added Dunn, whose party has turned down an offer from the RJR/TVJ News to participate in a series of forums to allow for broad-based discussion on the issues in each of the three constituencies.
The PNP had agreed to participate in debates being organised by the media group and yesterday it said its candidates Angela Brown Burke, Mark Golding and Alexis were ready.
"The PNP believes that public debates are essential in informing voters about key national issues and showcasing the preparedness of the candidates for the important representational role," said the PNP.
"News reports that the Jamaica Labour Party is calling on the Jamaica Debates Commission to set up a public face-off is a stumbling block to avoid debating as it is widely known that the commission organises for national polls and not by elections," charged the PNP, as it said should the JDC organise debates its candidates would also be ready.