Sunday 26 January, 2020

United Independents' Congress, Jamaica's third political party

Joseph Patterson

Joseph Patterson

The country once more has an official third political party, with the registration of the United Independents' Congress (UIC) by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ).

The ECJ has reported that the UIC has satisfied the requirements of the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act 2016, to be certified as a political party.

The other two parties that have been certified for registration by the ECJ are the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People’s National Party. Both were registered in 2018.

The Joseph Patterson-led UIC is based in the bread basket parish of St Elizabeth. It had submitted its application to the UIC in February.

“We are pleased that another political party has been successfully registered. I believe this indicates that our democracy is moving in a positive direction. I encourage other political parties to seek to formalise their registration with the ECJ,” said the Commission’s Chairman, Dorothy Pine-McLarty.

The UIC will now be eligible to contest future elections as a registered political party and will have its finances monitored by the ECJ.

Before political parties were required to register and have their finances monitored by the ECJ, the National Democratic Movement (NDM), founded by Bruce Golding in the mid-1990s, was widely accepted as Jamaica's third political party.

In its first contested general election in 1997, the NDM won five per cent of the vote but failed to capture a seat in the parliament. Golding would eventually return to the JLP in 2002 and led the party to victory in the 2007 general election.

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