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of the intellects - Parties boasting of brighter councillor
National Party and Jamaica Labour Party supporters hug and joke
with each other on Nomination Day in Portmore, St. Catherine.
- Norman Grindley/ Staff Photographer
Leonardo Blair, Staff Reporter
THE island's major political parties are now sparring with the
academic and professional achievements of their councillor candidates
in the run-up to the Local Govern-ment elections on June 19.
formal proof of intellectual ability is not an official requirement
of political candidates, senior members of both the incumbent
People's National Party (PNP) and the Opposition Jamaica Labour
Party (JLP) boasted teams of bright, new councillor candidates
whom they are expecting to take 'grassroots' representation
to another level.
Labour Party made an effort to get more qualified people to
come forward," said Opposition Senator Arthur Williams.
"Take the case for example in South East St. Catherine.
I have some young people one of whom has two university degrees."
Leader in the JLP, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, in an interview
with The Sunday Gleaner on Friday, said among the reasons
behind the decision to scout more qualified candidates was
to bring more respectability to the office of the councillor.
are bringing to the table a higher level of performance, more
respectability and integrity," said Miss Grange. "We
are confident that our candidates in these elections are of
a higher standard than the other candidates. We have various
professionals, we even have a young scientist and a 23-year-old
of Development and Member of Parliament for South East St.
Catherine, Dr. Paul Robertson, pointed out that getting more
qualified people to represent at the Local Government level
was always a priority of the PNP.
we have always tried to get qualified people and I can assure
you that our team for this election has a blend of youth and
maturity," he said. "We have a lot of professional
people; lawyers, doctors, engineers, teachers, they are all
a part of the team so, I think we have an excellent slate
of candidates, many of whom have the potential to go very
far in Jamaican politics."
both parties boast about the academic achievements of their
councillor candidates however, Local Government Minister,
Portia Simpson Miller, in a recent interview suggested to
The Sunday Gleaner that, while it isn't a requirement, it
will be an asset for councillor candidates if they had some
proof of intellectual ability to participate fully in the
Local Government reform.
are going to be having training programmes for the councillors
because for them to take this reform programme to run with
it, they need to understand it and they need to know what
they are getting into."
pointed out however that "We have some young bright candidates
right now and certainly they will lift the council, and in
terms of performance, I am sure they will be able to take
the reform and run with it."