Home » News
A municipal referendum
OF 495 candidates for the first municipal elections since
September 1998 signals a return to normality in the Local
Government system. Under existing legislation Parish Councils,
and the KSAC, are supposed to face the electorate every three
years; but this has not happened even as spasmodic and unfocused
declarations about Local Government reform have held sway.
legislation has established the Portmore municipality in St.
Catherine, presumably as the latest direction in which reform
will go. The Portmore poll involving direct election of a
mayor by the people for the first time is said to be a pilot
for other potential municipalities.
in that arrangement is some degree of autonomy; but the blueprint
needs definite indications of sources of adequate funding
to transform the theory into reality. Indeed the relationship
between the Portmore municipality and the St. Catherine Parish
Council will be interesting to watch, particularly as other
municipalities are established in other parishes.
considerations are only a sideshow of these elections, however.
Already, the focus of campaigning for the June 19 election
day is the national agenda since the General Election of last
October. The opinion polls suggest that there is heightened
interest compared with the low-key attitudes that normally
attend local elections.
about the state of the nation have already begun to coalesce
around the early declarations of the major party leaders.
On one hand, PNP Leader P.J. Patterson has exhorted party
members not to be defensive about the administration's track
record; and on the other hand, JLP Leader Edward Seaga is
prompting the electorate to use the elections as a referendum
on the Government's performance to date.
way, it seems inevitable that these elections will be less
about control of Local Government than it will be a sampling
of political leaning in the nation at large.
OPINIONS ON THIS PAGE, EXCEPT FOR THE ABOVE, DO NOT NECESSARILY
REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE GLEANER.