Candidates say only $23m spent in St Mary by-election
The two candidates who contested the October 30, 2017 by-election in St Mary South Eastern have reported spending a combined total of just under $23 million despite reports of numerous meetings, election paraphernalia and gifts that were given out during the 28-day campaign period.
The Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dr Norman Dunn, who emerged victorious, reported spending approximately $12.9 million, with all of the money coming out of his pockets, while the People's National Party's (PNP) Dr Shane Alexis said he spent $9 million with the lion's share of that, $8 million, being from donations.
Both candidates were well within the $15 million candidates are allowed to spend in general election campaigns, but far above the amounts reportedly spent by the four candidates who also contested by-elections on that day.
Golding spent $4m
In St Andrew Southern, the PNP's Mark Golding said he spent $4 million of his money, with the majority believed to have gone to finance the massive billboards he erected in the constituency that he won easily. His opponent, the JLP's Dale Dennis, said he spent just $300,000 which he received in donations.
Over in St Andrew South Western, the JLP's Victor Hyde said generous donors provided him with $3.4 million which he spent to contest a seat which the party has not won in a contested election since 1976.
In contrast, the PNP's Dr Angela Brown Burke, who won the contest, said she spent just $1.6 million despite a bitter contest for the right to represent the party in the constituency which left several Comrades angry and determined not to vote.