KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday October 2, 2017 – Jamaica’s political parties are fired up and ready to step up activities on the campaign trail as Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared Monday, October 30 as the date for three by-elections.
The seats in contention, all held by the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) are: St Mary South Eastern, St Andrew South Western and St Andrew Southern.
Speaking at rally in St Mary last night, Holness signalled that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) was ready to eclipse the PNP’s stranglehold – a challenge PNP officials immediately dismissed as they welcomed the by-election date.
“Now that the date has been given, we will do all that we have to do to make for a successful election,” PNP Chairman Fitz Jackson told the Jamaica Observer.
“The three candidates have been out there campaigning, and we intend to step up our efforts, particularly in St Mary South East.”
That constituency, where two medical professionals will square off, has emerged as the seat to watch.
The PNP’s Dr Shane Alexis, former president of the Jamaica Medical Doctors Association and the Medical Association of Jamaica, will go up against the JLP’s Dr Norman Dunn. Both have expressed confidence in being triumphant.
Pundits expect the PNP to retain its hold on the St Andrew seats.
In St Andrew South Western, a seat previously held by former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller who stepped down from elective politics earlier this year, former mayor of Kingston Angela Brown Burke is expected to step up to the plate.
The JLP has not officially revealed its candidate in that constituency, but it is expected that regular Victor Hyde will again face the PNP might.
In the adjoining St Andrew Southern seat, veteran parliamentarian Dr Omar Davies resigned at the same time as Simpson Miller last March, paving the way for the elevation of Mark Golding to represent the PNP.
The JLP has not officially declared a candidate for the seat yet either. But Dennis Messias, a persistent JLP hopeful, is tipped to go up against Golding.
Nomination Day has been set for next Monday.