Jamaica’s two main political parties will go into full campaign mode today as they gear up for the crucial October 30 by-election in the constituency of St. Mary South Eastern.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness last night announced at a Jamaica Labour Party rally in Annotto Bay, St. Mary that by-elections will also be held on October 30 in St. Andrew Southern and St. Andrew South Western which are considered safe seats for the People's National Party, which should be easily retained, leaving the St. Mary South Eastern contest the one attracting national interest.
If the JLP wins St Mary South Eastern, it will increase its Parliamentary majority from one to three.
The PNP has declared that it will be going all out to retain the seat.
It is expected to be a race between the JLP's Dr. Norman Dunn and the PNP's Dr. Shane Alexis.
RJR News spoke with both candidates shortly after the by-election date was announced.
Dr. Dunn said his on-the-ground campaign had been underway for a considerable time.
“We’ve visited almost every single where in the constituency and we’re going to be redoubling our effort to ensure that we reach every single elector in South East St. Mary because they need to know their candidate, they need to meet their candidate, and they need to know who they are voting for and why they are voting,” he said.
In a similar vein, Dr. Alexis said he would “continue to consult with the people of South East St. Mary.”
The PNP’s machinery “will move into a higher gear, starting Monday (today), but we are prepared for the next thirty days or so of campaigning, and we look forward to it, and at the end of the day, the people will speak and I will accept the decision of the people of South East St. Mary,” he added.
The National Democratic Movement (NDM) will not be fielding candidates for the by-elections.
Its President, Peter Townsend, told RJR News that the NDM recognized that was not able to seriously mount a challenge.
Nomination Day is next Monday October 9.