Local Government Elections Nomination Day
Today is nomination day for Local Government Elections 2016. Elections will be held on November 28.
Here in North Trelawny, the battle is on for the leadership of the parish council, currently led by the PNP. The JLP with its good showing in the recent general elections in February, are confident that they can wrestle the council from the PNP. For Trelawny on a whole, judging from the voting in the February General Elections, The JLP took 7 out of 9 divisions: all 4 in South Trelawny and 3 in North Trelawny.
Sitting Mayor Garth Wilkinson is expected to be nominated for the PNP, being challenged by former local DJ, now successful businessman, Courtney “Colourman” Fowler.
In Martha Brae Division, sitting Councillor Philip Service of the PNP will be challenged by newcomer Wesley Nelson of the JLP.
Sitting Councillor Telka Holt of the PNP is expected to face a strong challenge from newcomer Dunstan Harper of the JLP.
The White dynasty in Duncans Division, now led by sitting Councillor Donovon White will be challenged by former PNP MP Wendel Stewart.
The Wakefield Division will see losing JLP candidate in the 2002 General Elections, Christopher ‘Chris’ Jobson representing the PNP. He will go up against former JLP Mayor Jonathon ‘Fred’ Bartley, who has become a fixture in the division.
We are unable to ascertain whether there will be any independent candidates in North Trelawny.
Falmouth News should be on the road today to record the proceedings.
Now let’s take a look at the national picture:
Local Government Elections Nomination Day Jamaica
From the Jamaica Observer: CLOSE to 500 candidates are likely to be nominated today to contest 229 positions, including a direct election of the mayor of Portmore, in the 2016 local government elections on November 28.
Both major political parties — the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) — will contest all 229 polls with 458 candidates. However, there is expected to be a number of independent candidates, as well as individuals representing minor political parties like the Marcus Garvey People’s Political Party and possibly the National Democratic Movement.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness will be in his St Andrew West Central constituency this morning and is expected to accompany his three candidates to the Waltham Educational Centre, 65 Waltham Park Road, for their nomination. Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller will do the same at the Greenwich All-Age School, Spanish Town Road, in her St Andrew South Western constituency.
In a release last week, the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) admitted the tightness of the timing of the elections which was announced by Local Government and Community Development Minister Desmond McKenzie at the Jamaica Conference Centre last Thursday.
According to the ECJ, while the time frame is “far less than ideal”, it is in a “reasonable state of readiness”.
With less than a month left, the EOJ has fast-tracked its operations to meet statutory requirements and deadlines, in order to ensure that its machinery is ready for the November 28 elections. Today’s events will help to evaluate how much progress has actually been made.
However, the commission has very quickly announced that it had received more applications for election day jobs than anticipated, and by the middle of this week had enough applicants to satisfy the outstanding amount required. As a result, applications were immediately closed.
The commission admitted that, due to the timing of the polls, the next voters’ list, which was due to be published on November 30, will be published on December 31 instead.
The governing JLP is expected to focus on the oversized St Catherine Parish Council, which continues to house both members of the Portmore Municipal Corporation and the wider parish council— an issue which triggered a showdown between MPs on both sides in the House of Representatives this week.
The fuss was fuelled by the governing party’s position that the continued presence of Portmore councillors in the Spanish Town chamber has cost it the leadership of the St Catherine Council. The Opposition party, which had supported the position in the past, however, criticised the move as being taken too close to an election and without the involvement of the ECJ.
The chances of the JLP retaining the St Catherine council will depend on its ability to reduce the balance in the Portmore council from the current 11 PNP members to one JLP member.
Interestingly the single JLP councillor in Portmore, the veteran Keith Blake (Independence City), will be nominated today for the race for mayor of Portmore. His challenger is expected to be current Deputy Mayor Leon Thomas, who has been head of the council since the death of George Lee in 2013.
Incidentally, Blake ran a close second to former Deputy Mayor Colin Fagan when they competed for the St Catherine South Eastern seat in the February 25 General Election.
The highlight of the contest will be the competition for leadership of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC) which currently has 24 PNP councillors to 16 for the JLP. The ruling party believes it can reclaim the Corporate Area after its very improved performance in February.
The PNP currently holds 150 of the 228 local government council seats and the Portmore mayorship, while the JLP has 76. There are two independents, former JLP Mayor of Lucea Lester Crooks in Riverside, Hanover; and Paul Patmore in Lorrimers, Southern Trelawny, whose victory cost the JLP the council.