Nomination day in Portland Eastern

Nomination day in Portland Eastern

Observer staff reporter

Friday, March 15, 2019

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HUNDREDS of supporters aligned to the country’s two main political parties will saturate the streets of Port Antonio in Portland Eastern today, as nomination day activities get under way ahead of the scheduled April 4 by-election.

The governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) are expected to bus the faithful from across the country into the constituency, in support of candidates Ann Marie Vaz and Senator Damion Crawford, respectively.

The day is expected to mark the beginning of rigorous campaigning for a seat that has rested safely in the palms of the PNP for 30 years, but which several political pundits believe will swing to the JLP.

Careers, pride and self-esteem are on the line for the seat left vacant by the gruesome murder of late PNP Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield on February 2.

The day’s activities have slowed traffic in the past when Labourites and Comrades in overburdened vehicles paraded through the streets, building momentum ahead of their candidate’s arrival.

Yesterday, efforts to get an update from the Portland police on traffic arrangements were futile.

In the meantime, the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) in a news release Wednesday said all systems are in place for it to receive nominations of candidates for the Portland Eastern by-election.

Nominations will take place from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Port Antonio courthouse.

EOJ, in its statement, reminded that on nomination day, any individual wishing to register as a candidate is required to: Fill out a nomination form which has been signed by any 10 or more electors registered to vote in the constituency; return the form to the Returning Officer between the hours specified above; and pay a nomination fee of $15,000.

Subject to the provisions of the Constitution of Jamaica (Sections 39 and 40), any person seeking to enter as a candidate to sit in the House of Representatives should: Be a citizen of Jamaica, resident in Jamaica for at least 12 months prior to the date of nomination, or a Commonwealth citizen who has resided in Jamaica for at least 12 months prior to the nomination date; and be at least 21 years of age, the statement continued.

Under the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2014, political parties intending to contest elections must be registered with the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.

Individuals wishing to contest elections who are not members of registered political parties can do so as independent candidates.

Additionally, the campaign financing and expenditure of candidates and political parties in the Portland Eastern by-election will be monitored under the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2016, said EOJ.

Vaz is expected to be nominated at 11:30 am, while Crawford is expected to be nominated at 10:00 am.

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