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PNP Disagrees with Portmore Court Ruling

PNP Disagrees with Portmore Court Ruling

It has come to the attention of the People’s National Party that the judge’s recent ruling in the Portmore Municipality case was based on an interpretation of the Municipalities Act.

However, that Act was repealed by the Local Governance Act (LGA), which came into effect in February this year.

The LGA has an express provision preserving the Municipality of Portmore, and a savings section preserving the validity of the regulations etc (including the 2015 order adjusting the boundary to coincide with the constituency boundaries) made under repealed Municipalities Act.

It is both remarkable and regrettable that the repeal of the Municipalities Act, and the relevant savings provisions in the LGA, were not brought to the court’s attention.

The court’s decision is therefore clearly per incuriam‎ – that is, fatally flawed for having failed to take into consideration statutory provisions that are directly relevant to the issues it decided.

The PNP has been advised that the Attorney-General, Marlene Malahoo-Forte, will belatedly be issuing an opinion on this highly political matter. The ECJ should not accept her opinion. She is a JLP MP and clearly conflicted in the matter, as her Party has a strong political interest in it.

The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) urgently needs independent professional legal advice. The PNP is therefore calling on the four independent ECJ commissioners forthwith to instruct ‎outside counsel to appeal the decision, and to seek an immediate stay of the judge’s order (overnight) so that early voting can proceed tomorrow without disenfranchising the almost 5,000 affected electors in the two divisions who want to vote for the Mayor of Portmore.