Keep it 'clean and fair'

Pri­vate sec­tor lead­ers call for civil lo­cal gov't elec­tion cam­paign

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ed­mond Camp­bell Se­nior Staff Re­porter

AT LEAST two key sec­tor lead­ers want the two ma­jor po­lit­i­cal par­ties to carry out cam­paigns in a civil man­ner that will not dis­rupt pro­duc­tiv­ity in the run-up to the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions an­nounced yes­ter­day for Novem­ber 28. War­ren McDon­ald, pres­i­dent of the Ja­maica Cham­ber of Com­merce, said the busi­ness sec­tor wel­comed the rel­a­tively short cam­paign pe­riod, which is to the ben­e­fit of com­merce.

“We would want a clean and fair elec­tion, one with min­i­mum dis­rup­tion in terms of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence,” McDon­ald told The Gleaner yes­ter­day.

He also praised both po­lit­i­cal par­ties for agree­ing to en­gage in two 90-minute de­bates or­gan­ised by the Ja­maica De­bates Com­mis­sion (JDC).

“This is the kind of thing we sup­port, where any dif­fer­ences in pol­icy can be high­lighted rather than the usual po­lit­i­cal mumbo jumbo,” he added.

Brian Sch­midt, deputy chair­man of the JDC, told The Gleaner yes­ter­day that the com­mis­sion was fine-tun­ing plans to an­nounce the for­mat and time­line for the de­bates on Mon­day. Ar­gu­ing that Ja­maica’s pol­i­tics have ma­tured sig­nif­i­cantly, Metry Seaga, pres­i­dent of the Ja­maica Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion, said he was look­ing for­ward to busi­ness as usual dur­ing the pe­riod of cam­paign­ing.

“We hope the cam­paign is civil; we hope the cam­paign­ing is taste­ful; we hope it is re­spect­ful and peo­ple can go about their busi­ness, ex­er­cise their right to vote and we keep on do­ing busi­ness.” Ooz­ing with con­fi­dence, Ja­maica Labour Party Leader An­drew Hol­ness said yes­ter­day that he was ready to hit the ground run­ning to cam­paign with coun­cil­lors and coun­cil­lor care­tak­ers to en­sure that the party scores vic­tory in lo­cal gov­ern­ment polls. Nom­i­na­tion Day is on Novem­ber 11. At the same time,

Op­po­si­tion Leader Por­tia Simp­son Miller said the Peo­ple’s National Party (PNP), which now has a stran­gle­hold on all 12 parish coun­cils, the Kingston and St An­drew Cor­po­ra­tion, and the Port­more Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, said her party would de­fend and re­tain them all.

She wel­comed the elec­tion an­nounce­ment, say­ing it gives the peo­ple an op­por­tu­nity to elect a gov­ern­ment that will gov­ern their af­fairs at the lo­cal level.

“The PNP has a proud and en­vi­able track record where lo­cal gov­ern­ment is con­cerned. We have con­sis­tently placed the peo­ple’s gov­ern­ment on the agenda of devel­op­ment, and this is why we en­trenched lo­cal gov­ern­ment into the Con­sti­tu­tion of Ja­maica so that no ad­min­is­tra­tion can ar­bi­trar­ily dis­man­tle it,” Simp­son Miller said in a re­lease.

‘HAND-TO-HAND’ CAM­PAIGN­ING

How­ever, Hol­ness, who spoke dur­ing a meet­ing of JLP coun­cil­lors and care­tak­ers at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, down­town Kingston, yes­ter­day, urged coun­cil­lors to meet with at least 70 per cent of persons on the vot­ers’ list in their divi­sions.

He charged the coun­cil­lors to en­gage in “hand-to-hand” cam­paign­ing.

“You have to be on ev­ery street, ev­ery lane. I chal­lenge you to go to ev­ery yard. I set a tar­get for you that you should know, meet, shake hands with 70 per cent (of persons) on the vot­ers’ list be­cause you are the ul­ti­mate in rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”

He said the elec­tions were called so that coun­cil­lors could play their part in sup­port­ing the growth agenda of the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Des­mond McKenzie, who an­nounced the date of the lo­cal polls, said it was now time to shift the bal­ance of power in the parish coun­cils.

McKenzie said he had no in­ten­tion to de­lay the polls any fur­ther, not­ing that the elec­tions had pre­vi­ously been post­poned for too long.

The JLP says it has se­lected all 228 can­di­dates for the up­com­ing elec­tions.

Party Chair­man Robert Mon­tague said the party had asked the po­lice to run back­ground checks on all its can­di­dates.

RI­CARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness (left), who is also leader of the Ja­maica Labour Party (JLP), is greeted by Min­is­ter of National Se­cu­rity Robert Mon­tague (right), the party’s chair­man, while Min­is­ter of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Des­mond McKenzie looks on dur­ing a spe­cial public meet­ing held yes­ter­day at the Ja­maica Con­fer­ence Cen­tre, down­town Kingston.

SEAGA

MCDON­ALD

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