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Postponement of local government elections sensible, says Scott

By Kimone Witter

Political commentator Shalman Scott says a postponement of the local government elections would be a sensible move.

The elections are due by February 27.

But Mr. Scott believes the "declining" economic climate is not conducive to facilitate the elections at this time and could affect the government's chances at the polls.

He added that the municipal corporation elections ought not to be the priority now.

The focus, Mr. Scott suggested, should instead be on economic consolidation which will provide job opportunities and resources to improve basic services provided by the government.

The political commentator said, unlike the general elections, there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent a protracted delay of the local government polls. 

"We have had precedents for that where sometimes, over the period of our electoral process since 1944, we have had several cancellations within a given governmental term for our local government elections," he recalled.  

Mr. Scott also suggested that the postponement of the polls should be good news for the People's National Party, which he believes needs more time to prepare. 

"[I] don't think that they are ready for a parish council election or any election at this time. They are just in their reorganising stage and they need to get more work done on the ground," the commentator reasoned.  

Both the Jamaica Labour Party and Peope's National Party have said they are well advanced with their election preparation. 

Director of Elections Glasspole Brown has also said there would not be sufficient time to prepare for a February 27 deadline, considering that the government has not approved the budgetary allocation needed to execute the election.

The local government elections are constitutionally due every four years and were last held in November 2016.

The polls have been postponed twice since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions.