Letters to the Editor

Deal with the unfinished electoral business

Tuesday, April 25, 2017    

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Dear Editor,

We should not wait until the next local government election to resurrect the issue of duplication of local representations. The issue is a valid one and should be immediately dealt with.

Is it the Municipal Corporation of Portmore? Part II of the Constitution and Governance of Local Authorities, of the Local Governance Act 2015, clearly defines a municipal corporation and a municipality. In fact, the Act explicitly defines Portmore as a Municipality (Part II, Section 3 a/b).

We need a new governance structure for the municipalities. The municipality council should consist of 13 members who are elected at large (municipality-wide). While the members of the municipality council would ceremonially choose the mayor and the deputy mayor, the member who received the most votes in the election must be chosen as mayor, with the member receiving the second highest number of votes becoming the deputy mayor.

The last election proved that we are a country divided by political party. Why bring that divide to the local level?

Requiring that second-tier municipal elections to be partisan may drive independents and those wearied by political rhetoric away from the election process. Some may be less likely to run or vote if they are required to pledge allegiance to a party. Non-partisan elections are a breath of fresh air. Local elections are sometimes more civil because they are non-partisan. Let’s maintain that space to breathe.

In addition, non-partisan elections may also mean the public is served by the most qualified candidate. In an election without labels voters make a choice based on the merit of the candidate. Voters select an individual rather than an ideology.

Let’s deal with the issues before the next round of elections.

Michael Brown






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