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#LocalGovtDebate: Direct election of all mayors not on the agenda

Published:Thursday | November 17, 2016 | 11:04 AM
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie

The Government has indicated that it will not be pursuing the direct elections of mayors throughout Jamaica anytime soon.

Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie, made the disclosure during Wednesday night's first of two political debates ahead of the November 28 elections.

He said the system under which Portmore elects its mayor is problematic and set up to make the municipality an "enclave" of People's National Party.

McKenzie was responding to criticism by the PNP's Kingston Mayor Angella Brown Burke of the Andrew Holness administration's failed attempt last week to pass a bill to split Portmore from the St Catherine Municipal Corporation.

According to Brown Burke, the Government was ignoring the role of the people in pushing the split bill.


IN PHOTO: Everton Fisher, Angella Brown Burke and Donovan Mitchell

However, McKenzie hit back saying the system used by Portmore to directly elect its Mayor is not working.

He insisted that the Government is in favour of the direct elections but noted that the Portmore system is not a good example to export to other parishes.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce have publicly backed proposals for all parishes to directly elect their mayors.

"This should strengthen the whole democratic process that we have," said Warren McDonald, the president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce at a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum.