Sat | Sep 25, 2021

No election ploy, says McKenzie

Published:Friday | June 25, 2021 | 12:12 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.
Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has dismissed talks that recently announced relaxation of the COVID-19 containment restrictions as it relates to entertainment is in anticipation of early local government elections. The elections were...

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie has dismissed talks that recently announced relaxation of the COVID-19 containment restrictions as it relates to entertainment is in anticipation of early local government elections.

The elections were postponed from last year and are set to be held no later than February 27, 2022.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness this week announced new measures to impact the holding of entertainment activities, as of July 1, which will allow for the resumption, to some extent, of events in the sector.

Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Peter Bunting, earlier this week suggested that the measures announced by the Government is an indication that local government elections were near.

But speaking to The Gleaner during a tour of emergency shelters in St Ann on Thursday, McKenzie dismissed this speculation, claiming that the Government would not be that opportunistic.

“The Government is busy dealing with the question of COVID. The decisions that were announced by the Cabinet is not predicated on rolling any pitch for any election,” McKenzie stated.

“This Government will not use opportunities like these for election purposes, so I want to dismiss any ridiculous speculation about us calling elections. As I said before, the elections have been postponed, and when that time comes for us to review those decisions, we will take those decisions.”

McKenzie stressed that the deadline for the calling of elections was still some distance away.

“Well, that’s a long time from here, so I’m not even going there,” he remarked.

McKenzie said efforts are now being concentrated on rebuilding the economy and ensuring that the easing of restrictions announced is manageable. He said with the hurricane season now on, the focus was also on preparing the country for any eventualities.

“What I’m saying right now, we are concentrating on running the country, have COVID under control to ensure that we are in a state of readiness if we are impacted by anything during this hurricane season,” he added.

McKenzie toured emergency shelters at Exchange All Age, Ocho Rios High, St Ann’s Bay Primary, and Marcus Garvey Technical High schools and gave the facilities a passing grade.

editorial@gleanerjm.com