KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday February 5, 2020 – Residents of Clarendon South East will vote for a new Member of Parliament in another four weeks, following the resignation of Rudyard Spencer last night.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness today announced March 2 as the date for the by-election in the southern constituency, less than 24 hours after it was announced in Parliament that Spencer, who served as MP for 18 years and was State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, was stepping down from representational politics with immediate effect.
Nomination Day is February 12.
“As Prime Minister, it is my duty to ensure the proper functioning of the people’s government, which includes keeping the Parliamentary majority intact,” Holness said in a statement issued in which he announced the by-election.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation Pearnel Charles Jnr will be the standard bearer for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the Clarendon South East constituency.
The opposition People’s National Party (PNP) said it will not contest a by-election so soon before the next general election which is constitutionally due by February 25 next year.
Spencer, a former trade unionist, first entered Parliament as an Opposition JLP Senator in 1993 and served as Leader of the Opposition Business in the Upper House from 1995 to 1997. He was the Minister of Health from 2007 to 2012 under the Bruce Golding administration.
He is a specialist in financial-sector worker representation and negotiations and held the positions of President, Senior Vice President and Senior Negotiating Officer at the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU).
Spencer also served as Director of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions (JCTU) and has represented the trade union movement internationally as a Member of the Caribbean Congress of Labour. He was also Chairman of the Joint BITU/JLP Committee.
He was awarded the Order of Distinction (Commander Class) in 1995.
Local media reports say Spencer is expected to take up an ambassadorial post in Germany soon.