Local Government Elections postponed

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Jamaica News: The House of Representatives has approved amendments to temporarily modify the Representation of the People Act (ROPA), to allow the local government elections to be pushed back to a date no later than February 27, 2022.

The Bill was piloted by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie, in the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, November 24.

The election, scheduled to be held every four years, was last conducted on November 28, 2016. Local Government Election would be due on November 29, 2020. ROPA provides for a 90-day extension, which would push the deadline to February 27, 2021.

Parliament was asked Tuesday to temporarily amend the Representation of the People Act to facilitate the holding of the next local government elections on a date no later than February 27, 2022.

Mr. McKenzie said there are significant challenges in holding the election at this time, given the fiscal and economic challenges caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as well as the recent damage caused by flood rains.

“The cost of staging an election at this time is a major factor, as the Government has to be responding to the needs of the country, and the financial constraints that the country is now experiencing because of COVID-19 and the persistent rains,” he noted.

He said Jamaicans want the Government to focus on the recovery from COVID-19 and the damage caused by the recent rainfall, so that they can return to a path of prosperity.

Opposition Leader, Mark Golding, said he fully understood the exigencies that are behind this decision and said the Opposition would not oppose the measure.

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