The Opposition PNP is calling on Political Ombudsman, Donna Parchment Brown and the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) to establish a monitoring mechanism for upcoming by-elections.
It’s making the call as it’s raising particular concerns about what it says are activities taking place in South East St. Mary where there’s expected to be a keen battle between it and the governing Jamaica Labour Party, JLP.
In a statement yesterday, the PNP says the proposed monitoring mechanism will ensure state funds are not corruptly used to influence the outcome of the by-elections. It points to the government’s implementation of the $600-million de-bushing programme during the run up to the local government elections in November last year as evidence.
The PNP had accused the government of using the programme to influence the outcome of the parish council elections.
It says it’s received reports that several agencies, including the Parish Council and the Ministry of Agriculture, have started allocating resources such as fertilizer and other agriculture-based products to St Mary. It says a new bushing programme has also started in the South East St Mary.
It’s further alleging that resources which were earmarked for sections of Portmore and the wider St Catherine area are being re-allocated to St Mary.
The Opposition party is urging the Contractor General and the Office of the Political Ombudsman to quickly establish a public monitoring mechanism to oversee the operations of state agencies within the Parish for the impending by-election.
The PNP’s Dr. Shane Alexis is to face off with the JLP’s Dr. Norman Dunn in a by-election to replace Dr. Winston Green as Member of Parliament.
Green died suddenly on August 14. He defeated Dr. Dunn by five votes in the February, 2016 General Elections, after a magisterial recount.
In the meantime, the PNP’s candidate for the impending by-election in South East St. Mary, Dr. Shane Alexis, says he has the full support of the party.
In an interview last evening on Nationwide @5, Dr. Alexis suggested he’d been approached by both the PNP and Jamaica Labour Party to join them.
However, he says the socialist philosophy of the PNP was more attractive to him.
Dr. Alexis says he doesn’t intend to be in politics forever.
Dr. Alexis is also encouraging other young people to get involved in politics.
A Jamaica Observer newspaper report yesterday said the by-election, to replace the late PNP Member of Parliament Dr. Winston Green, will be held in November. The report cited members of the governing JLP as the source of the information.
Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has not said when the by-election will be held.