Confident PNP ready to roll

Confident PNP ready to roll

Opposition to target marginal seats in next general election


Thursday, August 06, 2020

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THE Opposition People's National Party (PNP) has declared its readiness to contest and win the next general election, whenever it is called by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

With speculation mounting that Holness will call Jamaicans to the polls in a matter of weeks, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson yesterday told the Jamaica Observer that the party is ready and confident of victory.

“We have settled our candidates and they have been working on the ground. Obviously, we are focused on what we call the marginal seats or the ones that we know swing,” said Robinson.

“We are defending the 29 seats that we have and we are going after a number of the seats held by the JLP [Jamaica Labour Party], seats we would have lost in the last election. Our messaging has been developed. We have done polling, we have done the focus groups, and we will be rolling out our messages very soon.

“We have also spent a lot of time on our policy platforms and, in short order, we will be rolling that out. So we are ready for any eventuality and we expect to win whenever the date is called,” added Robinson.

He said the PNP is satisfied with the individuals it has identified to represent the party in each constituency, but that the party will continue its assessments to see if they are performing and doing the political work needed.

“We will always be open to making changes, but we have our candidates in place and they are on the ground and working; but it is a process of continuous assessment. It is always essential to make sure that what they are doing is consistent with the work we expect,” declared Robinson.

He also rubbished claims by some political watchers that recent public opinion polls, which show the party trailing the governing JLP in all areas, could leave the PNP without the financial muscle that will be needed to properly contest a general election.

“We have the money to run an effective campaign and to win,” said Robinson.

The next general election will be the first to be conducted since the Election Campaign Financing Regulations 2017 and the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 2016 were put in place to “bolster transparency and accountability” of elected officials and “reduce corruption and improper influence in public life”.

Under the law, individual contributions to a political party during the period of an election campaign must not exceed $31.5 million, including donations to individual candidates, while contributions to each candidate must not exceed $1.5 million.

The law also bans contributions from agents of the State, public bodies, as well as individuals and entities whose identities are not disclosed or whose activities are illegal. The campaign period begins after the date for an election is officially announced, and ends 24 hours before the start of voting.

A contribution to a political party is defined as “any gift of money, gift of kind, or any benefit which can be computed in terms of money, given to a political party or candidate, for the purpose of carrying out the activities of a political party or the election of a candidate”.

Registered political parties are barred from spending more than $630 million to contest an election, while a candidate cannot spend more than $15 million.

Parties are also mandated to submit a Campaign Period Expenditure Report to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica within 180 days after the day of an election.

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