House accepts constituency increase by 5
published: Wednesday | March 17, 2004
THE HOUSE of Representatives yesterday accepted the recommendations of the Electoral Advsiory Committee (EAC) which were considered by the Boundaries Committee, that the number of constituencies be increased by five to 65.
While 65 is the maximum number agreed to, it was decided that the number will only be increased to 63 in the short-term. This will not be effected before two-and-a-half years of the current term of the governing People's National Party (PNP) has expired this in April 2005.
At least one change will require an amendment to the Constitution and this has been referred to a select committee of the House. It regards the period of review that will take place as of now, to give any further changes to boundaries and the number of seats. Currently, such changes are accommodated not less than four years and not more than six, after the Boundaries Committee has submitted its previous report.
The process of continuous voter registration now undertaken by the Electoral Office of Jamaica, means some constituencies are likely to breach the allowable limits within the four to six-year period. Several St. Catherine constituencies are on the verge of breaching the 33,900 limit for number of voters.
It was also recommended and accepted that a house-to-house re-verification of the residence of electors be undertaken.
Dr. Peter Phillips, Leader of Government Business in the House with responsibility for electoral matters, noted that since the formation of the EAC in 1979, Parliament had always accepted its recommendations. He stressed yesterday that some of the current recommendations require that constitutional reform be undertaken.
People's National Party
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