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PNP won't participate in political debates unless format changes

Published:Thursday | February 11, 2016 | 3:46 PM
Brian Schmidt (left) and Gary Allen at a Jamaica Debates Commission press conference today.

The People's National Party (PNP) says it will not participate in the political debates in the proposed format.

According to the Jamaica Debates Commission the PNP wants a change of the format to reflect a town hall setting instead of the current style where journalists pose questions to political leaders.

But the commission says due to time constraints, it is difficult to grant that request.

Deputy chairman of the commission, Brian Schmidt, says a compromise was proposed.

However, the PNP still declined.

The commission says it is still ready to host a debate using the format for the debates in 2011.

"We really just want to stage the debates because we see that it is in the public and national interest and that is where we stand," Schmidt told journalists at a press conference.

Earlier this afternoon, the PNP issued a statement saying its president and Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, would not dialogue with the Opposition Leader, Andrew Holness until he addresses several of their concerns.

READ: PM doesn't want to speak with Opposition Leader – PNP

The Jamaica Labour Party has said it is ready to participate in the debates.

The commission says the proposed dates are February 16, 18 and 20.