Postponing the local government elections is the right move – Williams
AMID CRITICISM from members of the opposition, Delroy Williams, mayor of Kingston, has insisted that political expediency did not play a role in the Senate approving amendments to postpone the local government elections for a further 12 months.
On Friday, the Senate approved amendments to temporarily modify the Representation of the People (Postponement of Elections to Municipal Corporations and City Municipalities) Act, to allow the local government elections to be held no later than February 28, 2023.
Following the sitting of the Senate at the official opening of the Andrew’s Mews Health and Recreational Centre along Olympic Way on Friday, Williams gave more arguments as to why the Government was not acting with political expediency.
“Before coming here, I was in the Senate and we were debating the postponement of the local government elections and one argument I heard before I spoke was that, we are postponing the elections for political expedience, and I had to remind them that September 2020, we won the elections by a landslide margin,” Williams said.
He continued: “So if we were taking into consideration political interest; party interest, which party would not have called the elections in November 2020? If it was just about political interest, we would have called the election in 2020, but the Government took the decision not to in spite of the fact that it would have benefited the JLP to call the election.”
The Kingston mayor said more coronavirus variants now exist and for the circumstances, the environment has not changed.
“We support fully the postponement of the local government elections. We believe that the arguments are very clear, sound and responsible and [the]proper, appropriate thing to do,” Williams said.
PUBLIC HEALTH RISK
Piloting the bill on Friday, Kamina Johnson Smith, leader of government business in the Senate, said the pandemic was the determinant behind the election delay.
Johnson Smith said holding an election at this time would put the country at greater public health risk, even though the COVID-19 infection rate is on the decline.
“Now is, therefore, not the time to disrupt this downward movement with campaigning and the gathering it will entail. Achieving the best balance is what we are working for and that is what we seek to achieve,” she argued.
The bill will go to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen for his signature, after which it will become law.