The Government has once again moved to postpone the next local government elections, stating that the country is not economically stable enough to handle a national poll.
This is the fourth time that the Andrew Holness administration has postponed the elections which are constitutionally due to take place every four years. The elections were postponed in November 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then again in February 2021 with a further extension of 12 months, making them due by February 27, 2023.
Desmond McKenzie, minister of local government and rural development, in Parliament today (February 21) put forward another bill for the postponement of the elections, claiming the country’s “economic recovery is still very fragile” post-pandemic.
He added that “we are in a better position than we were last year, but it is clear that we are not yet out of the woods”.
“The elections are of importance, however the government is seeking a little more time to ensure that the significant expenditure that elections require will be effectively managed alongside other priorities in the economy,” said the minister.
Last year, the Government tabled and passed a bill for Portmore to be considered the 15th parish in Jamaica. According to McKenzie, there are still consultations taking place relating to the matter and the further postponement of the local government elections would facilitate the process.
“I know that there are concerns that are being raised, but the Government have weighed the balance and we believe at this time where the country is and the fact that we have to consider important issues [the elections should be postponed],” said McKenzie.
He then asked for the support of other members of the House as well as the patience and understanding of the country on the Government’s decision.
The last time Jamaica went to the polls for a local government election was in November 2016.
– Send feedback to [email protected]