Mon | Oct 19, 2020

JPP pulls out of Sept 3 election

Published:Sunday | August 16, 2020 | 12:30 AMAlbert Ferguson - Sunday Gleaner Writer


The Jamaica Progressive Party (JPP) has shelved plans to contest the September 3 general election, citing several challenges, including being barred by several commercial banks from opening an account.

In a press release, JPP President Gilbert Edwards lamented the bureaucratic hurdles that confront newly formed political parties, but declared that the JPP, whose membership is dominated by men of the cloth, is here to stay.

“Jamaica suffers from a virus called ‘red-tapism’, a ‘pandemic’ instituted by the minority who sits on top, and the only ones suffering are the less fortunate people,” he said. “For example, our party was blocked from opening an account at a number of banking institutions due to existing bureaucracy which does not facilitate new political parties opening accounts.

“We, like other new political parties, have suffered the same marginalisation and, therefore, we are condemning this systemic discrimination,” the release continued, calling for a level playing field.

“It is not coincidental that an election was suddenly called as our party garnered momentum and was actively building its internal structure. It is for this very reason that JPP, along with most Jamaicans, is demanding a fixed election date as was promised and not fulfilled ... .”

Edwards said the party had “taken the strategic decision to retool, sharpen our political acumen, and strengthen our organisation’s internal and external structures and not contest the upcoming general election”.

The JPP, however, said it was standing by the plans detailed in its manifesto.

The party had officially applied for registration in June and was given the nod by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica last month, making it the island’s fourth political party.

The other registered parties are the Jamaica Labour Party, the People’s National Party and the United Independents’ Congress.

All candidates for the September 3 polls are to be nominated on Tuesday.