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The Senate gave approval on Friday (June 18) to two Bills postponing Local Government Elections to 2011.
The elections, which were to be held by June 30 this year, are now scheduled to be held no later than March 30, 2011.
Bills amending the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC) Act and the Parish Councils Act to allow for the postponement were passed, after being piloted through the Senate by Leader of Government Business, Senator Dorothy Lightbourne. They were passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday (June 15).
Among the reasons Senator Lightbourne highlighted for the postponement were: the State of Emergency in effect in the Corporate Area, which may be extended; the ongoing Local Government reform programme, of which significant elements are yet to be put into effect; and the proposed establishment of Portmore as the fifteenth parish, which is incomplete.
In his remarks, Opposition Senator, K.D. Knight, claimed that the postponement of the elections has “whittled away” the rights of citizens.
“What is clear is that there is a fear to go to the polls,” Senator Knight said.
But, Government member, Senator Desmond McKenzie, said that the Government would never back away from facing the electors.
“We are not afraid of going to the people because, as a Government, we stand on our record of performance and achievements,” Senator McKenzie said.