ECJ: The ministry is responsible for municipal boundaries

ECJ: The ministry is responsible for municipal boundaries

Thursday, February 26, 2015

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THE Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) is washing its hands of the controversy surrounding the bid to have seven per cent of the electorate in Portmore sign a petition which would allow for the expansion of the boundaries of the municipality.

The ECJ, in the wake of news that a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor as well as the party's mayoral candidate were about to file an injunction to block the petition, issued a release stating that it is the Ministry of Local Government that is responsible for setting municipal boundaries.

The release said that, while the ECJ was asked to facilitate the signing, it has consistently said it has no jurisdiction over the Portmore municipal boundaries.

"But no one seems to be listening," Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said. He pointed out that the indication to seek an injunction suggests that there is still some "lack of clarity" on the matter.

Shane Dalling, attorney-at-law representing councillor for the Independence City Division Keith Blake and mayoral candidate Welton Shettlewood, told the Jamaica Observer that his clients would be going ahead with the application today, without advice from the EOJ.

"If we are to give notice, by the time we go to court, they could have achieved the seven per cent, and nullify the application," Dalling explained.

The director of elections, in the release, explained that in 2010, when three new constituencies were added to the island's 60 constituencies, the ECJ "ensured that the changes to all electoral boundaries (polling division, electoral division and constituency) were gazetted ahead of the 2011/12 elections", but that it did not make the recommended changes to the municipal boundaries of Portmore because this is not a part of its remit.

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