Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Safe seats breed neglect

Published:Friday | November 25, 2016 | 11:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

In your editorial of November 24, 2016, you stated that the communities of Lakes Pen, Quarrie Hill, Grange Lane and Clifton, are part of the constituency of St Catherine Southern. This is not so.

These communities comprised part of the constituency of St Catherine East Central. Prior to 2011, they were part of St Catherine Southern. The constituency of St Catherine East Central extends to the Spanish Town Bypass across from De La Vega City.

In 2011, this constituency was created and communities were removed from the former St Catherine South Central (now St Catherine Eastern) and St Catherine Southern to form St Catherine East Central. For example, Gregory Park was part of the former St Catherine South Central, while Lakes Pen, Quarrie Hill, Grange Hill and Clifton were part of St Catherine Southern.

Communities of Africa settlement, March Pen Road, Corlett Road, which were part of the former St Catherine South Central (now St Catherine Eastern), form part of the new South Central St Catherine, along with Homestead, which was part of St Catherine Central.

Since the creation of the new constituencies in 2011, I knew boundary issues would arise. It is clear that the Electoral Office of Jamaica failed to do its work, and fall within the trap of gerrymandering of both the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party. Although Lakes Pen, Quarrie Hill, Grange Lane and Clifton are not part of Portmore, historically these communities are part of a majority Portmore-based constituency. Thus, based on the court ruling, not all communities within St Catherine East Central would be able to vote for the mayor of Portmore, yet their councillor sits within the Portmore Municipal Council.

I know the discussion is entirely based on Portmore, but Spanish Town is divided into five constituencies, which are generally safe seats for political parties. It is upon that premise that Spanish Town is largely neglected and historically has poor political representation because of the lack of competitive politics. Safe seats breed neglect.

ONEIL HALL

oneil.hall@hotmail.com