Senate approves postponement of local government elections

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Senate approves postponement of local government elections

Saturday, November 28, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The postponement of the local government elections has been sanctioned by members of the Senate.

Government and Opposition senators have approved amendments to temporarily modify the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), to allow the local government elections to be pushed back to a date no later than February 27, 2022.

Piloting the Bill in the Upper House during its sitting yesterday, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, said the decision was made to not hold the election at this time due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Jamaican society and the economy.

Specifically, she noted that delaying the election is necessary given “the increased risk of exposure by the Jamaican electorate to COVID-19; and current financial constraints coupled with the increased demand for resources to respond not only to our health and safety needs, but also to the recent flood rains that affected Jamaica”.

Johnson Smith, who is also minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, pointed out that the local government elections for members to serve on the respective councils of the municipal corporations and the mayors of city municipalities, is due by November 29, 2020.

“The eighth schedule of the ROPA provides for a period of extension which is 90 days, commencing on the day after the fourth anniversary of the date on which the most recent election was held. This would allow for the next local government elections to be held no later than February 2021, where no action taken (for postponement),” she said.

Slated to be held every four years, the election was last conducted on November 28, 2016.

The Bill to postpone the election was passed without amendments in the House of Representatives on November 24.

It will now go to Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen for his signature, after which it will become law.

—JIS

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The postponement of the local government elections has been sanctioned by members of the Senate.

Government and Opposition senators have approved amendments to temporarily modify the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), to allow the local government elections to be pushed back to a date no later than February 27, 2022.

Piloting the Bill in the Upper House during its sitting yesterday, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, said the decision was made to not hold the election at this time due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Jamaican society and the economy.

Specifically, she noted that delaying the election is necessary given “the increased risk of exposure by the Jamaican electorate to COVID-19; and current financial constraints coupled with the increased demand for resources to respond not only to our health and safety needs, but also to the recent flood rains that affected Jamaica”.

Johnson Smith, who is also minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, pointed out that the local government elections for members to serve on the respective councils of the municipal corporations and the mayors of city municipalities, is due by the November 29, 2020.

“The eighth schedule of the ROPA provides for a period of extension which is 90 days, commencing on the day after the fourth anniversary of the date on which the most recent election was held. This would allow for the next local government elections to be held no later than February 2021, where no action taken (for postponement),” she said.

Slated to be held every four years, the election was last conducted on November 28, 2016.

The Bill to postpone the election was passed without amendments in the House of Representatives on November 24.

It will now go to Governor-General, Sir Patrick Allen for his signature, after which it will become law.


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