Holness moves to have SOEs extended to Oct 24; August polls in doubt
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has asked the House of Representatives to give approval for the states of emergency (SOES) now blanketing nearly half of the country to be extended by an additional three months until October 24, 2020.
The SOEs were slated to be lifted on July 25 and that date had given rise to speculation that a general election would be held shortly after they were lifted, perhaps as early as August.
This, as both Holness and the Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang, had suggested that a general election would not be held while the emergency measure was in force. The parliamentary Opposition had also signalled that it would not support the SOEs being in place during such a time as Jamaicans are asked to go to the polls to elect their government.
The prime minister has, over the past two weeks, been shifting focus, stating that he was setting about rebuilding the economy that has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, rather than on a general election.
The general election is constitutionally due by February 2021, with an effective 'grace period' of three months that could see the polls held as late as June 10 next year.
The debate on the extension of the SOEs is now underway with Holness making opening remarks.