Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has announced that a parliamentary by-election and four Local Government by-elections will be held in April.
He said that Nomination Day will be next Wednesday, March 16, and Election Day for all five contests will be on Monday, April 4.
Mr. Golding made the disclosure Tuesday (March 8) at a press conference at Gordon House, following the announcement of the resignation of Government Member of Parliament for South West St. Catherine, Everald Warmington, from the House of Representatives.
He said that Mr. Warmington, who was also the Minister of State for Water and Housing, had tendered his resignation as a Member of Parliament to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Monday (March 7). He explained that Mr. Warmington was a citizen of the United States at the time of his nomination in 2007.
Mr. Golding pointed out that this development now resolves all issues relating to dual citizenship, as far as the ruling JLP is concerned.
“The spotlight must now turn to the Opposition benches, where there are at least 2 of which the evidence we have is positive,” he said.
The four Parish Council Division vacancies to be filled are: the Norbrook (St. Andrew North Central), KSAC; Spanish Town, St. Catherine Central; Duncan’s, Trelawny Northern; and Frankfield, Clarendon North West. These vacancies were created by the deaths of Councillors: Robert Williams (Norbrook); Everton Morrison (Spanish Town); Caleb Lewinson (Duncan’s); and Errol White (Frankfield).
“It is logical to arrange for those vacancies to be filled simultaneously. I have been in consultation with the Chairmen of the three Parish Councils and the KSAC municipality,” Mr. Golding stated. He noted that the requisite consultations between the Chairmen and the Director of Elections have been held, and he had been authorised to announce the date for the elections.
He said the elections will enable the South West St. Catherine seat to be filled in time for the new parliamentary year, which begins in April, and also enable the four Parish Councils to be properly constituted to ensure that the people in those Divisions are properly represented.
“This is particularly important, given the fact that Local Government Elections have been postponed for a year, which would mean that those Divisions would be deprived of representation for an extended period of time,” he pointed out.
He said that Mr. Warmington renounced his U.S. citizenship some time ago but, based on the ruling that was made in the court, the fact that at the time when he was nominated he was also a U.S. citizen would leave him vulnerable to the consequences that have been seen in a number of court matters.
“Mr. Warmington, in consultation with me and the leadership of the party, has opted to tender his resignation, creating a vacancy in that constituency,” the Prime Minister said. He added that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has been put on alert, to make the necessary arrangements.
“There are candidates for all of those vacancies, and the party will now be proceeding with the normal arrangements for those candidates to be nominated, and for the necessary arrangements for an effective, peaceful and successful election results,” he said.
CONTACT: ALPHEA SAUNDERS