PNP finding it hard to fill one St James, two Portland seats

PNP finding it hard to fill one St James, two Portland seats

BY MARK CUMMINGS
Editor-at-Large
cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, January 27, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — People's National Party (PNP) General Secretary Julian Robinson says the party expects to find suitable standard-bearers for the remaining seats in its constituencies within another three weeks, as the party prepares for general election, which it is widely believed will be held this year.

Speaking to reporters following the party's National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the Montego Bay Community College in St James yesterday, Robinson said the PNP's full slate of 63 candidates will include new faces such as Winston De La Haye in St Catherine East Central, Michael Hemmings in St James East Central, and Oniel Lynch in North West St Andrew.

The three vacancies expected to be filled next month are in the constituencies of St James North Western, currently being represented by National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang (JLP), Eastern Portland represented by the JLP's Ann-Marie Vaz and North Eastern St Andrew, which is represented by Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck.

A party official told the Jamaica Observer that the party is finding it difficult to fill the vacant seats because “party members believe that they are not winnable”.

Robinson said during the NEC meeting delegates discussed a raft of matters, including enumeration and canvassing, as the party prepares for election.

“We looked at our political organisation, what we need to do, the enumeration, the canvassing, and election day preparations,” said Robinson.

Additionally, he said, the NEC had agreed to establish a “special committee” to look at the National Minimum Wage.

“The NEC is committed to ensuring, as a progressive party, that we have a wage which all Jamaicans can afford to live on. A number of our critical spokespersons, Mark Golding, Andre Hylton, Fenton Ferguson, and Horace Dalley will sit on the committee and flesh out some of the details of that,” Robinson explained.

In the 2016 General Election, the ruling JLP secured a narrow 32-31 majority over the PNP. The governing party, however, has since, secured the East Portland and South East St Mary parliamentary seats in by-elections.


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