Tue | Dec 5, 2023

JLP names Portmore mayoral candidate for upcoming local government elections

Published:Thursday | November 9, 2023 | 12:06 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) officially named its mayoral candidate for Portmore at the St Catherine South constituency conference held at the Belmont Primary School on Sunday.

Businessman Delroy Dobney, who lost to the People’s National Party (PNP) St Catherine South Member of Parliament Fitz Jackson in the 2020 general election, will be the JLP’s standard-bearer in the upcoming local government election. He will again face PNP incumbent Fitz Jackson in the general election constitutionally due in 2025.

Dobney was also presented as the chairman for the constituency.

This move sets the stage for a heated contest as Dobney is set to oppose the incumbent PNP Mayor Leon Thomas in the mayoral election.

The JLP also presented its four representatives for the municipal divisions within the constituency. They are: Patrick Barrett in Portmore East, Richard Mendez in Hellshire, Dr Rene Level in Greater Portmore North, and Tricia Walters in Braeton.

However, these representatives have not yet been officially selected as candidates by the party, according to Everald Warmington, chairman of the JLP party Area Council 2, who cautioned against the use of the terms “councillor caretaker” until the party’s selection process is completed.

“I have seen a lot of billboards and posters referring to MP caretaker and councillor caretaker, but there is no such foolishness. It is either MP or caretaker, councillor or caretaker,” he said

“These individuals are divisional chairmen and not candidates until the election is officially announced and the party settles on them as candidates,” he emphasised.

Dobney encouraged JLP supporters to unite behind the party leader, Andrew Holness, and expressed his belief in the party’s commitment to success. He stated, “If you intend to achieve success, life will have challenges, but there is no easy street to success.”

As the election season approaches, the JLP’s decision to field Dobney as their mayoral candidate sets the stage for an exciting contest in Portmore, with both major parties vying for the support of the constituents.

Portmore has had direct elections for the position of mayor since it gained city municipality status in 2003.

There are concerns that this development is a clear indication that the issue of designating parish status to Portmore before the local government election might not be forthcoming.

Parish status would allow the municipal councillors to select the mayor and deputy mayor instead of the people voting directly for the positions in a secret ballot election.