Mon | Dec 18, 2017

Debate deadline offer

Published:Wednesday | October 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

The RJRGLEANER Communications Group has given the two political parties contesting three by-elections set for Monday, October 30 by this afternoon to say if they will accept its invitation to participate in a debate between the candidates vying for the South East St Mary constituency seat.

"Could you indicate by 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 11, 2017, what is your party's position, so that we can determine what plans to make?" the media group appeals in a joint invitation to the general secretaries of both parties, dated Tuesday, October 10.

"I want to elicit the confirmed position of your party," Milton Walker, group head of news (broadcast), says in the letter to the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dr Horace Chang and Julian Robinson of the People's National Party (PNP).

"Our request now comes as the Jamaica Debates Commission has indicated clearly that it will not be facilitating a debate for candidates in a by-election for a constituency," Walker says before going on to explain his company's reason for taking this initiative.

"Our RJRGLEANER Group is committed to seeking to provide members of the public with information that will help them determine the issues before them and believe it is our duty to do so through a debate/forum. Please also note that we are willing to facilitate other media entities being involved."

First-time candidate Dr Shane Alexis is challenging Dr Norman Dunn, who lost to the PNP's Dr Winston Green in the 2016 general election by five votes. The by-election was triggered by his death on August 14.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com