IN A SNAP? Jamaica’s new PM hints at early poll

Appearing on television since he was sworn in as Prime Minister to replace Bruce Golding on October 23, Holness also said he agreed with the position adopted by the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) that the election machinery must be in place before any poll is carried out here.

“I am a realistic person, if you don’t have the money, you can’t have an election. I agree with the position that standards must be maintained. You certainly don’t want to have an election that is below standard and being criticised internationally,” he said.

There has been growing speculation that the country could go to the polls ahead of the constitutional deadline of December 2012 as Holness seeks a fresh mandate for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), which won 32 seats in the 2007 general election.

But the Prime Minister insisted during the interview that the Electoral Office should always be in a state of readiness.

“We have in Jamaica probably recognized as one of the best electoral institutions in the world. They maintain a standing capacity to keep elections if they were to be called.

“Let’s be clear on this point that the electoral machinery must always be ready to give the government the capacity to make a decision so there is a standing capacity,” he said.

Since he was sworn in as Prime Minister, a poll commissioned by CVM television showed there has been a reduction in the PNP lead over the JLP.

PNP leader Portia Simpson Miller has written to the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) warning that her party will not tolerate a general election being called without the Electoral Office of Jamaica being adequately prepared.

During the interview, Holness said he would not be switching constituencies ahead of the general election and that he would not be taking over the West Kingston  seat that Golding held and considered a safe seat or the party.  

“Let’s just be clear, I think it is emerging now that I will not be going to West Kingston but not for that reason. I have an obligation to the people of West Central St. Andrew and it will be unfair to them,” he said.

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