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JLP asks voters to keep them in charge

Published:Saturday | March 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) yesterday launched its manifesto three days before Monday's local government polls, with a plea to the voters to maintain the party's dominance of power in the councils.

At a press conference at the party's Belmont Road headquarters, party leader Andrew Holness told journalists that despite last December's big general election loss, the JLP was energised and ready for the polls.

He told journalists that even in the most remote of areas, local government was still important to the ordinary people, something that is often not captured in the hype of general elections.

However, history is against the JLP retaining control of the councils as the party in power has always swept the local polls.

In December 2007, the JLP swept the parish council election winning 11 councils, with a tie in St Ann. The People's National Party (PNP) won Manchester and Westmoreland, and although having a majority in the Portmore municipality, the JLP's Keith Hinds was elected mayor.

Analysts have predicted that the PNP will sweep Monday's polls despite the history of low voter turnout that has accompanied local polls.

However, the JLP leader said it was important that a political balance be maintained in the country and he said although unscientific, the feeling from the ground was "that many of those who did not vote in the general election will come out and vote".

Former Minister Robert Montague said the 'x' that elected the members of parliament in the December general election was as important as the one that would be used to elect councillors in Monday's polls.