Tue | Mar 20, 2018

Debates Commission still hopeful

Published:Sunday | February 14, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Then Prime Minister Andrew Holness and then Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller before the political leaders' debate in 2011.

The Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC) late last week wrote to the Peoples' National Party, noting that in the absence of a response to its letter of February 11, it was no longer able to commit to organising and staging the first in a series of political debates on Tuesday February 16.

The JDC had written the party asking it to reconsider its decision not to participate in three debates ahead of the 2016 general election.

In its letter, the JDC indicated that if the first debate were to take place on Tuesday, it needed three clear days in order to mobilise its teams to ensure the staging of a quality production, and asked for a response by 5 p.m. last Friday.

The JDC letter concluded:

"As we have not received a response as at the time of writing, we wish to advise that the JDC can no longer commit to organising and staging the first debate on Tuesday, February 16.

"Nonetheless, the JDC remains open to staging the three debates beginning later in the week, provided an agreement can be reached with the Jamaica Labour Party to that effect.

"The same condition - three clear days before the live broadcast of the first debate - would remain in place.

"We should note that given the position of both political parties over the course of our negotiations that the last several days ahead of the election should be reserved for their closing campaign events, any decision to debate - if this were to prove necessary - between Sunday, February 21 and Tuesday, February 23 must be a mutual decision of both political parties ... ."