No local government elections while COVID-19 pandemic rages - says HolnessSaturday, October 16, 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has reiterated that no local government elections will be called during the COVID-19 pandemic as he remains focused on getting the country out of the crisis.
Local Government elections were due in November, 2020 but were postponed until February, 2022 due to the ongoing pandemic. The governing Jamaica Labour Party (JL) controls the majority of the municipal corporations.
The prime minister emphasised his position on Friday during a vaccination mobilisation tour in Richmond, St Mary. He was responding to questions from the media regarding a reported call by the parliamentary opposition for an agreement to be signed that would ensure that no elections are held while the pandemic is raging.
But, Holness has brushed aside the call, describing it as self-serving. He said the government has nothing to gain from an election at this time.
“The Government of Jamaica will not be calling any elections in this current situation. That is the furthest thing from our mind, and I had already said that we could not even contemplate elections until we have reached a very high threshold of vaccination,” he said.
The prime minister added that elections cost billions of dollars and no such funds are available to spend on elections right now. "We can't put the country through that,” he insisted.
Holness further described the thinking of the opposition as pure politics that does not take into consideration the public good and interest. He highlighted that the JLP is in control of both central and local government, hence the party has nothing to prove electorally at this time.
The prime minister also added that when the vaccination tours were launched, he invited the Leader of the Opposition Mark Golding, to be part of them. They both faced the press in the constituency of South West St. Andrew, Holness said, and “in that engagement, he [Golding] expressed his support for vaccination.”
"Jamaica is in a very delicate position, and as Prime Minister I have to be very careful that my actions do not render the country apart,” he said.
He said he will continue efforts to ensure that the country pulls together, and that while the government is leading the process for take up of the vaccination, it is doing so with respect and through dialogue with the citizens.