KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – The Jamaican opposition People’s National Party (PNP) has criticized Prime Minister Andrew Holness over the decision to change the date for the by-election in Portland Eastern from March 26 to April 4. The by-election is required to fill the vacancy resulting from the death of former PNP MP Dr. Lynvale Bloomfield who was killed at his home on February 2
The date change was announced in a brief statement by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Monday night. The statement said the change in date came “after further consideration and consultation” and takes into “account the public holiday of Ash Wednesday on March 6, 2019, which is considered an ‘excluded day’ for the purpose of section 21 (1A) of the Representation of the People Act.”
The Act provides that the day appointed for nomination day shall be at least five clear days after the announcement of an election.
Nomination Day – March 15
Nomination Day was originally set for March 8, but the OPM statement said it has been pushed to Friday, March 15.
The PNP’s declared candidate for the by-election is Damion Crawford, and the JLP Ann-Marie Vaz, the wife of Douglas Vaz, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation.
PNP and Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, has described the change in dates as an act of gross incompetence and ultimately an expression of disrespect to the Jamaican people in general and the voters of the constituency in particular.
In a statement, Phillips said this “unprecedented act boggles the mind as to the quality of legal advice being provided to the prime minister. This should never happen in any self-respecting democracy without someone being held accountable.”