Gov't could end SOEs this week as general election nears

Gov't could end SOEs this week as general election nears

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer

Monday, August 10, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — The governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has fuelled speculation that the reconvening of Parliament this Tuesday could be used to end the current states of public emergency (SOE) across the island, so as to give Prime Minister Andrew Holness the freedom to call general election.

Parliament is currently on break for the month of August.

Last Tuesday, the prime minister indicated that the general election will be held soon, when he made reference to his election campaign in his green Clarks shoes.

Since then, the prime minster has been visiting several parishes across the island as part of efforts to drum up support for his re-election bid.

However, there is an issue with the holding of the election, as the Government had given a clear commitment that the polls would not be held under an SOE.

On June 21, the House of Representatives voted to extend the SOEs in effect in sections of the island, to September 3.

Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte and JLP General Secretary Horace Chang addressed the issue during a press conference following the party's Central Executive Committee meeting at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, yesterday.

“There will be no elections under the SOEs, so the elections will not be announced [while they are in effect]. The Parliament will convene and make a decision on that,” stated Dr Chang, in a response to queries from the press.

“What we can say to you is that where a state of public emergency exists, in order for it to be brought to an end, it takes place in Parliament,” added Malahoo Forte.

“You are all welcome to Parliament on Tuesday,” Dr Chang quipped.

Meanwhile, the JLP general secretary told the media that earlier during the central executive meeting, the prime minister indicated that the election will be called “soon, soon”.


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