Alexis, Dunn not yielding an inch!
The candidates, Dr Shane Alexis and Dr Norman Dunn, may have signed the Political Code of Conduct yesterday, but there is clear indication that neither the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) nor the People's National Party (PNP) is prepared to yield an inch of ground in the fight for South East St Mary.
Yesterday, the charges and counter-charges continued, with the young professional caucus of the PNP, the Patriots, charging that Dunn has not met the constitutional requirement to be nominated as candidate in the October 30 by-election.
According to the Patriots, Dunn is a shareholder and director of several entities that hold contracts with the Government of Jamaica through the National Health Fund's (NHF) Drugs for the Elderly Programme.
The group argues that Dunn was not properly nominated because he failed to publish a notice in the Jamaica Gazette within one month of the day of election to disclose the nature of such contracts.
"The JLP should immediately provide the evidence that its candidate has complied with this constitutional requirement, otherwise the Electoral Commission of Jamaica should seek the advice of the solicitor general of Jamaica on the validity of Dr Dunn's nomination," added the Patriots.
Robbed needy Jamaicans
In short order, the youth arm of the JLP, Young Jamaica, countered with a charge that since Alexis is a citizen of Canada, he had robbed needy Jamaicans of scholastic opportunities.
"A young Jamaican student who cannot afford medical school was rejected that year because a Canadian received a scholarship in his or her place. The requirements are clear, and if he knowingly applied and accepted that scholarship, then he not only defrauded the Government of Jamaica, but also the Government of Cuba in accepting the scholarship," said Howard Chamberlain, president of Young Jamaica.
... PNP argument failed - Chang
Later in the evening, JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang issued a statement saying, "The only Jamaican candidate in the South East St Mary by-election is qualified and ready for the polls on October 30."
Dr Chang said that the PNP's assertion failed because Dunn had no contract with the Government of Jamaica for or on account of the public service. "It is important to note that the NHF is a body corporate that can sue and be sued, which means for the purposes of the Jamaica Constitution, it is not a part of public service."
Chang also said that the law allowed for Dunn to make a declaration within 30 days of the election date, "meaning: occurring inside the period of time before the day of the election".