Sun | Jul 22, 2018

Courts slow in resolving election-petition row

Published:Wednesday | June 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I am concerned about the urgency with which election petitions are tried before the court. I make reference to the case pertaining to the Yallahs division in St Thomas, whereby a petition was filed by Constantine Bogle, the People's National Party representative, against the Jamaica Labour Party representative, Dean Jones, who won the division by 125 votes.

Bogle claims that Jones is not eligible to represent the people of the Yallahs division in the municipal corporation because he was not a resident in the parish of St Thomas for 12 months prior to the election, and he was a civil servant at the time when he ran for office, which would disqualify him based on the Local Governance Act, 2016.

The last local government election was held on November 28, 2016, and the election petition in question was filed in December 2016. We are now in the month of June 2017, and the people of Yallahs division are yet to know who their true representative is.

A local government term lasts for four years constitutionally, and it is perhaps uneasy for the people of the division to not know the status of their representation for an extended period. That is, it would be a relief to know that Jones will remain or that the seat will be turned over to Bogle, or go into a by-election, if Jones is found guilty based on the fact that Jones would have signed his nomination paper, affirming that he was not guilty of any of Bogle's claims, which are grounded in the Local Governance Act, 2016, thereby making his nomination void.

It would be rather nice if the court could be more efficient in dealing with cases such as these so that the residents living within the confines of that parochial division will have a lawful representative in the municipal corporation.