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Fisher refuses to disclose Holness' meeting agenda

Published:Tuesday | October 25, 2011

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

DIRECTOR OF Elections Orrette Fisher has refused to say whether Prime Minister Andrew Holness has enquired of him whether his office is prepared for a general election.

Fisher, who was summoned to Jamaica House by Holness on his first working day as prime minister, said the meeting went "fine".

He, however, refused to say what was discussed.

"The prime minister invited me to a meeting and any disclosure as to the discussions has to come from that side. That is all I am going to say," Fisher added.

The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) head earlier this month wrote to Financial Secretary Wesley Hughes, requesting $350,000 to conduct preparations for the next general election.

Cabinet last week approved $200,000 for the office to start its preparation with the remaining $150,000 to follow.

Asked last week if the EOJ would be ready if an early election were to be called, Fisher said his office had no choice but to work feverishly to put measures in place.

"My ideal would be three months, but if circumstances dictate that you need to expedite certain things, then you would definitely have to work within the confines because there is a stipulated time given in the law between the announcement of an election and election day, that would naturally be bare bones," Fisher told The Gleaner last week.

Fisher has also said that, in an election year, prime ministers normally meet with the EOJ head to ascertain readiness for general elections whenever one is imminent. Yesterday, he steered clear of indicating whether yesterday's meeting was of that nature.

The next elections are due by latest December 2012 but political analysts have opined that the new prime minister might ride his popularity wave and go to the polls by year end.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com