PNP Demands Changes to Debate Format

Jamaica Debates Commission says the PNP has demanded that a debate format similar to that used in the US Presidential system, be utilized locally.

The Commission says that demand has been laid down by the PNP as a precondition to their candidates participating in any debates with the JLP.

The Debates Commission’s Deputy Chairman is Brian Schmidt.

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, Mr. Schmidt says the US town hall format is not practical in a Jamaican context.

Mr. Schmidt says ideally, the Debates Commission wants to hold three debates before February 21.

The dates earmarked are February 16, 18 and 20.

He says based on the various pre-conditions laid down by the PNP, talks are in limbo.

Mr. Schmidt says the JLP has written the Commission indicating that it’s candidates are ready to debate. He says its not practical for a debate to be held without the PNP.

Meanwhile, a coalition of private sector groups says they are deeply disturbed by the stance of the PNP regarding the debates.

The members of the coalition are the Manufacturers’ Association, Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, the Exporters’ Association and the Hotel and Tourist Association.

The President of the Manufacturers Association, Metry Seaga says the PNP’s stance is troubling.

Mr. Seaga is also taking issue with both major political parties for not making their manifestos available to the public, 13 days before the elections.

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