Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Tuesday named September 3, as the date for the 18th general election since Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944.
Speaking in Parliament, Holness said Nomination Day will be Tuesday, August 18.
“I have advised the Governor General to dissolve parliament to dissolve Parliament on August 13, the Governor General is expected to take the necessary steps to dissolve the parliament by proclamation. Mr Speaker I now see it necessary to seek another mandate from the people of Jamaica…. this government is not unmindful of the public debate that has surrounded the calling of an election. This Government believes firmly in modernizing the institutions of our democracy. In calling the election at this time, this Government is not being unusual in practice. In fact, most governments have called the elections before the due date. We continue however, as the government to maintain our aspirations towards a fixed election date. There are however legal and constitutional considerations that have arisen and we remain committed to pursuing this.”
In keeping with his promise that no State of Public Emergency would be in existence during the election, the Prime Minister had earlier moved a resolution in the House of Representatives to end the states of emergency.
The SOEs have been imposed in the western parishes of Hanover, St James and Westmoreland, the central parishes of Clarendon and St Catherine as well as sections of the Corporate Area – Kingston East, Kingston Central, Kingston Western, and St Andrew South police divisions.
Holness, in making reference to the COVD-19 pandemic and the economy, expressed confidence that the country is on the right path towards recovery.
“When we were confronted with the twin problem of keeping the people safe, recovering the economy and figuring out how to treat the notion of an election, I was very early in saying that I would not contemplate an election unless we had measures in place to continue the proper management of the pandemic. Mr. Speaker we are at that point …but what I am satisfied with, is that our private sector has been fully mobilized and they themselves are very eager of getting on with the business of recovery. So I have no doubt in my mind that Jamaica will recover stronger. I have no doubt in my mind that we will build back stronger. I have no doubt in my mind that under this administration in partnership with the people of Jamaica we will achieve the prosperity in the new Jamaica that we all want to see.”
The Prime Minister also highlighted some of the achievements of his administration.
“This government has been in office for approximately four years and six months, I cannot recall there being a government before that has enjoyed the sustained approval ratings as this Government, so late in our term and even after facing the extensive nature of a pandemic. It is not a figment of public relations, it is as a result of the collective hard work of the people of Jamaica and the guarding and guiding hand of our eternal Father.”
“This government abolished the minimum business tax put on by that government…..we increased the GCT threshold for small business…..we increased the income tax threshold to J$1.5 million when they said it couldn’t be done. Most Jamaicans alive today would have lived through an era of high interest rates … under good leadership and administration, interest rates were reduced ten times since 2018. Mr. Speaker, one of the proudest moments of this government we introduced the tourism workers’ pension scheme, giving thousands of tourism workers the opportunity to earn a pension,” the Prime Minister said.
In the last general election, the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won 33 of the 63 seats contested with the remainder going to the People’s National Party (PNP).