Political parties chided for not placing emphasis on local gov't issues

JFJ Executive Director Mickel Jackson
By Nakinskie Robinson   
Executive Director of Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) Mickel Jackson is siding with political commentators who have criticised the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party for their approach to the upcoming local government election.
Political commentator Dr. Paul Ashley in a Gleaner article on Tuesday expressed that advertisements have not placed enough emphasis on local governance and councillor candidates.
He said the ads by both the JLP and the PNP do not encourage electors to vote directly for their councillors.
Noted Pollster Don Anderson has also previously expressed that the parish council election is being used as a measure to gauge the standing for both parties heading into the pending parliamentary election.
They both argue that the parish council election has morphed into one of national interest and comes down to rallying support for Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Mark Golding.
Ms. Jackson, who was commenting on the local government debates last Thursday and Saturday, said the move dilutes the relevance of local government, the local authorities and public expectations. 
"It takes away from the importance of the issues that we mentioned - the needs of the poor in the community, primary health care, health and sanitation levels within your markets, the matter of vending, environmental impact assessment. When you focus on the general election approach, you get a sense of whether or not you can win your seats in Parliament. It's a disservice to Jamaican people and I think we ought to be looking at our political parties and say do better," she contended.   

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