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Howard Hamilton wants Portmore boundary issues resolved amid looming local elections

Published:Monday | June 8, 2015 | 5:31 PM

Former chairman of the Greater Portmore Joint Council, Howard Hamilton, is pleading for the boundary issues in the municipality to be resolved ahead of Local Government elections which are now constitutionally due.

Boundary changes in 2010 resulted in councillors for the Greater Portmore North and Portmore Pines divisions having to sit in the St Catherine Parish Council.

In July last year, the parliament passed a bill, to legitimise the actions of the acting mayor of Portmore, and council members, in the absence of a by-election to select a new mayor.

The bill also fixed the situation surrounding the two councillors who had been unable to take their seats in the Portmore Municipal Council.

The Electoral Office of Jamaica recently collected the required signatures for a petition to regularise the divisions in contention.

However, Hamilton says residents of Portmore need a full resolution to the issue.

He says the Portmore boundary issue has dragged on for too long without any clear signs that it will be resolved in time for Local government Elections which is now past the due date of March 31, 2015.

Under law, the latest date by which it must be held is June 30, 2015.

Hamilton contends that the government is playing with democracy in a manner that can only lead to citizens staying away from participating in the democratic process.

He is urging Local Government minister Noel Arscott to work to resolve the issues so that should an election be called residents in the affected division will not be denied the right to vote directly for their mayor.