We've consulted on Portmore boundary adjustments
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I take careful note of your editorial remarks on the some comments I recently made on the matter of the proposed realignment of the Portmore municipality boundaries. I will assume the remarks may not have got the benefit of the premise on which my own comments and position on are based, which I indicated then, and will now iterate.
I believe that one of the most successful and effective institutions we have built in Jamaica is the Electoral Commission of Jamaica, and we have managed electoral matters in Jamaica since 1980. Much credit is due to both the JLP and the PNP.
In brief, this arrangement sought to prevent any incumbent government from legislating any electoral arrangement unilaterally to its advantage, and to the disadvantage of the Opposition. In other words, consensus is reached by the parties on both the relevant laws and manner in which we deal with electoral matters.
While such decisions and arrangements may not be perfect along the way, we should ALWAYS endeavour not to undermine or destroy what we have achieved. The mechanism in place allows for all the parties to make changes through consensus that can perfect what we have in an orderly way.
I would never want our country to venture anywhere close to how we previously dealt with electoral matters given the enormous pain and loss our country has suffered. Against this background, I am very impatient and intolerant of any semblance of a return to such practices and will react fast and furiously to prevent any return to a dark practice. I am mindful of the adage, 'Don't make perfection the enemy of good'.
I remain adamant that disagreements between parties are best resolved through quiet and sober interactions. The courts should be the place of last resort after exhausting such options.
If the parties privy to the matter of the boundaries were not a part of either the JLP or the PNP, it would be an entirely different story. I am also of the conviction that legislation is most effective and will better fulfil its intentions when it reflects the expressed will of the people through their representative.
In keeping with the consultative manner in which the Portmore municipality was promulgated, I have always consulted with the collective community leadership of the Portmore municipality on all major matters affecting its governance arrangements.
It must also be noted that the EOJ undertook the exercise with the full authority of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica and the implicit concurrence of the JLP leadership. The subsequent withdrawal from the court proceedings by the JLP councillor who himself had personally participated in, and agreed to, what was done by the EOJ is instructive.
FITZ A. JACKSON
Member of Parliament
South St Catherine
Portmore, St Catherine