AG to pro­vide ECJ with ad­vice on Port­more bound­aries court rul­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ed­mond Camp­bell Se­nior Staff Reporter ed­mond.camp­bell@glean­erjm.com

AT­TOR­NEY GEN­ERAL Mar­lene Mala­hoo Forte is work­ing fever­ishly to pro­vide the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion of Ja­maica (ECJ) with ad­vice ahead of Monday’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to a Supreme Court rul­ing, which ef­fec­tively re­verses a de­ci­sion to ex­tend the bound­aries in the Port­more mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

The ECJ said yes­ter­day that it had ex­am­ined the is­sues raised in the rul­ing of the court in the mat­ter of Len­nox Hines v the Min­istry of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment, the At­tor­ney Gen­eral of Ja­maica, and the ECJ.

Ac­cord­ing to the ECJ, it is “pre­pared to pro­ceed with any of the pos­si­ble sce­nar­ios which may arise” as it awaits the ad­vice of the at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice.

When The Gleaner con­tacted Mala­hoo Forte for a re­sponse, the at­tor­ney gen­eral said her de­part­ment was “work­ing on the mat­ter as we speak”.

In­di­cat­ing that her re­sponse would come shortly, Mala­hoo Forte said her de­part­ment was tak­ing great care in deal­ing with the mat­ter.

BOUND­ARY UN­CHANGED

Jus­tice Martin Gayle on Monday handed down a judgment in favour of Len­nox Hines, the Ja­maica Labour Party can­di­date for the South­bor­ough di­vi­sion who had chal­lenged the for­mer min­is­ter of lo­cal gov­ern­ment Noel Arscott’s de­ci­sion to have sec­tions of Span­ish Town, St Cather­ine, in­cluded in Port­more.

The rul­ing means that elec­tors in Lakes Pen, Quar­rie Hill, Grange Lane, Clifton, and ad­join­ing com­mu­ni­ties would be barred from vot­ing for a mayor for Port­more in the Novem­ber 28 lo­cal gov­ern­ment polls.

Ac­cord­ing to the court’s rul­ing, the Mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties Act does not grant the min­is­ter any power to vary a bound­ary.

Mean­while, Ja­maica Labour Party may­oral can­di­date for the Port­more mu­nic­i­pal­ity Keith Blake wel­comed the de­ci­sion of the Ap­peals Court.

Speak­ing on Na­tion­wide ra­dio yes­ter­day, Blake ar­gued that the in­clu­sion of the Span­ish Town com­mu­ni­ties was un­der­taken by the then gov­ern­ing Peo­ple’s National Party (PNP) for political ad­van­tage in the Port­more may­oral race.

Fitz Jack­son, cam­paign manager for the PNP’s may­oral can­di­date, Leon Thomas, said the party was study­ing the court’s rul­ing to de­cide on the next course of ac­tion.

He con­tended that the rul­ing would pre­vent res­i­dents of Port­more from re­ceiv­ing full rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the Port­more mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Jack­son pointed out that the bound­ary changes were meant to align com­mu­ni­ties with the ad­just­ments to the bound­aries of the three con­stituen­cies in Port­more.

MALA­HOO FORTE

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