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A campaign geared mostly to national issues, Local Government
elections are back on track after two postponements since
the last such voting on September 10, 1998.
total of 226 polling divisions in the 14 parishes will be
contested by 494 candidates presumably seeking to bring a
new vision to local concerns, inadequately served in the four-year
judging from the focus of the campaigning since Nomination
Day on May 30 both PNP and JLP have been concerned with the
major issues of national concern. In effect, the JLP speakers
on the hustings have challenged the government's performance
and the PNP speakers have sought to defend it.
effect, both major parties have fashioned a referendum of
sorts some eight months after last October's General Election.
The intermittent references to purely parochial concerns would
have enlivened the rural contests. This may have accounted
for some of the incidents of actual party clashes in St. James
and St. Thomas and once again invoked the intervention of
the Political Ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair as peacemaker.
significance of such incidents, even in a low-key Local Government
election, is that the leadership of the parties still cannot
restrain the temper of activists at an acceptable level of
with the national-issue flavour of these local elections,
the newest elements involve the Portmore Muncipality of 11
polling divisions directly electing a mayor a first
in our Local Government history and presumably a pointer to
greatest interest, however, will be in whether the ruling
PNP can retain its control of all the Parish Councils and
the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation. The extent to which
the JLP challenge succeeds in this particular contest will
define the balance of political power at the level of Local
THE OPINIONS ON THIS PAGE, EXCEPT FOR THE ABOVE, DO NOT NECESSARILY
REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE GLEANER.