Current Affairs

Current Affairs



Election this year for sure
The Gleaner
Monaday January 14, 2002

REAFFIRMATION THAT the impending General Election will be held this year came at the weekend. Members of Parliament and caretaker/candidates for the ruling People's National Party (PNP) were told on Friday by party President and Prime Minister P.J. Patterson to prepare for General Elections before the end of the year.

Despite being described as the regular party meeting at the start of the year to set the agenda for the year's activities, party sources said the meeting at Le Meridien Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston took on an election flavour.

"We did our usual schedule (and) the party president made it clear that this is election year and we don't need to be in any doubt about that," Maxine Henry-Wilson, PNP General Secretary told The Gleaner Friday night.

"As a consequence there are things to be done including completing candidate selection which is almost completed," she said. She said the party would also be concentrating on the organisational aspect of its work.

The state of the economy was a major agenda item and Mrs. Henry-Wilson said Finance and Planning Minister Dr. Omar Davies used the opportunity to announce that the economy recorded growth last year. He did not state the level of growth but used the occasion to defend the Government's refusal to pursue an economic model similar to the one pursued by Argentina for the last decade.

He said that the meltdown of the Argentine economy and the social and political upheavals over the last three weeks were as a result of the collapsing economy.

Dr. Davies also highlighted the appraisal from the multi-laterals including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank as an indication that the local economy was on the right track.

In terms of candidate selection, Mrs. Henry-Wilson said the four outstanding constituencies will be settled in the next week or two. The four constituencies are West St. Andrew held by the PNP's O.T. Williams, North Trelawny held by Wendell Stewart, also of the PNP, South Central St. Catherine with Sharon Hay Webster also PNP; and North Central St. Andrew held by the Jamaica Labour Party's Karl Samuda.