Nearly half of Jamaicans don’t know who their mayor is. That’s according to the latest findings of the Nationwide/Bluedot polls, powered by Total Tools.

The poll was conducted between January 19 and February 6. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.25 per cent.

Ricardo Brooks reports.

The mayor of a parish capital is elected by the majority of the councillors in each municipality. The party with the most seats in the council, chooses the mayor. Where there’s a tie, the party that wins the popular vote has the right to elect the mayor.

Portmore is the exception. Since 2003, the residents of the Sunshine City have had the right to directly elect their mayor.

The mayor is traditionally regarded as the first citizen of every city. It’s a pretty important post.

But when the Bluedot pollsters asked 1,878 registered voters who their mayor was, 49 per cent had no clue. Fifty-one per cent said they knew who headed their parish.

Ignorance abounds in urban centres, where significantly higher numbers of respondents had no clue who their mayors are.

In Kingston and St. Andrew, 54 per cent of voters did not know who was running the municipality. It’s the JLP’s Delroy Williams of the Seiveright Gardens Division in the prime minister’s West Central St. Andrew constituency.

In St. James, nearly 60 per cent were unaware of the mayor. It’s the JLP’s Leeroy Williams of the Montego Bay North division in North West St. James.

In St. Ann, 64 per cent of respondents did not know who the mayor is. It’s Sydney Stewart of the Bamboo division in North West St. Ann.

Portland was another point of interest, with 63 per cent of voters telling posters they did not know the mayor is the JLP’s Paul Thompson. He’s councillor of the Manchioneal division in East Portland.

Clarendon also features prominently, with 53 per cent of respondents unaware that Winston Maragh of the Rocky Point division in South East Clarendon is the mayor of May Pen.

The highest level of ignorance about who the Mayors in the different parish capitals are, was among voters 18-24 years old. Nearly 60-percent of that voting bloc was unaware of who their Mayor is.

Interestingly, 52 per cent of voters 65 years and older also have no clue who their mayor is.

Meanwhile, only 34 per cent of Jamaicans are familiar with the roles and responsibilities of the municipal corporations.

Voters aged 18-24 are least likely to be familiar with what their local authorities do, with only 25 per cent of that cohort indicating they knew. Voters 55-64 had the highest level of awareness, at 45-per cent.

Only 28 per cent of voters across the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipality indicated they know the roles and responsibilities of the local authority. Forty-one per cent of voters in the capital indicated they knew nothing of the roles of the municipality. Thirty-one per cent were unsure.

The lowest levels of awareness were recorded in St. Thomas and Westmoreland where only 26 per cent of voters say they are aware of what their council does.

Forty-seven per cent of voters in Westmoreland say they’re unsure and 40 per cent of voters in St. Thomas had similar feelings.

The Kingston and St. Andrew Municipality is a prized council on election night, with both parties attempting to control it come February 27. The Westmoreland and St. Thomas Municipal Corporations will also be closely watched on election night.