ECJ Rules it Impractical to Separate Portmore & St Catherine M.C. before Elections

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The Electoral Commission of Jamaica, ECJ, has told the government it’s not practical to separate Portmore from the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation before the local government election.

The election is to be held on November 28.

The ECJ today sent a letter to Minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister, Derrick Smith.

A copy of the letter has been obtained by Nationwide News.

The Commission says it believes further study is needed before the separation takes place.

According to the ECJ, trying to complete and gazette the boundary change before November 28 would be impractical.

It says it’s also of the view that there should be timely consultation with people who live in the affected areas.

The bill which proposes to separate Portmore from the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation caused a dispute in the House of Representatives yesterday and today.

Leader of Government Business in the Lower House, Derrick Smith, and Leader of Opposition Business, Phillip Paulwell, clashed over the issue.

Mr. Paulwell accused the Holness-administration of improperly pressuring the ECJ to meet in a bid to approve the bill.

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But Prime Minister Holness dismissed Mr. Paulwell’s argument.

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Meanwhile, MP for East Westmoreland, the PNP’s Luther Buchanan, was threatened with ejection from the House this afternoon.

This as tempers flared when Local Government Minister, Desmond McKenzie, moved to have the bill tabled in Parliament.

Mr. Buchanan was among several opposition MPs who drew the ire of House Speaker, Pearnel Charles, when they strongly objected to the decision to table the bill.

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There was more chaos when Mr. Charles again cautioned Mr. Buchanan.

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Desmond McKenzie and before him East Westmoreland MP, Luther Buchanan and House Speaker Pearnel Charles.

Mr. Charles directed the Clerk of the Houses of Parliament to read the bill.

A shouting match between Government and Opposition MPs ensued when East Central St. Andrew MP, Dr. Peter Phillips interrupted the Clerk and accused the government of not showing sufficient regard to the ECJ.

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Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.