Three Months Post-Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert’s Resignation, Trelawny Southern Yet to See Parliamentary Representation

Amid Jamaica’s festive season, characterized by familiar sights of de-bushing and road rehabilitation, Trelawny Southern remains in a political limbo. The absence of a Member of Parliament has left the constituency without a representative for three months, following the resignation of Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert. Surprisingly, the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has maintained silence on the prospect of a by-election. The question looms large: who is currently managing the affairs of the constituency, especially concerning the recently allocated 22 million dollars for the Constituency-Based Mitigation and Cleaning Programme and the 20 million under the Constituency Development Fund? While inquiries into this matter have yielded minimal responses, a JLP General Secretary’s aide indicated that the Prime Minister holds the final responsibility for overseeing all projects, with the Mayor also playing an integral role.

Despite the crucial nature of parliamentary representation, both major political parties seem oddly nonchalant about the urgency of filling the vacant seat. Dr. Dayton Campbell, the General Secretary of the People’s National Party (PNP), remarked that it is not a priority for the party at this time. The Representation of the People Act, under which by-elections are called at the constituency level, lacks a stipulation for a specific timeframe. According to Glasspole Brown, the Director of Elections at the Electoral Office of Jamaica, the decision to call a by-election rests solely on the Prime Minister’s discretion, leading to a varied historical timeline for such events. The Jamaica Labour Party has remained tight-lipped on a potential replacement for the departed MP. However, unofficial sources suggest that Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert may re-enter the political arena as a candidate in the upcoming ballot. On the People’s National Party side, newcomer Fabian Davis is positioned as their candidate for Trelawny Southern, concurrently competing for the Duncans Division in Trelawny Northern. Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert vacated her seat and Speaker of the House of Representatives role after the Integrity Commission ruled that she should face charges for eight counts of making false statements in her statutory declarations. The allegations included the omission of a six-million-dollar Mercedes Benz from her declaration, a claim she vehemently denies, attributing it to a genuine oversight.

Reporter: Natalia Clarke 

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