In what is typically a season marked by festive cheer and community initiatives, the constituency of Trelawny Southern finds itself in an unusual state of political limbo this Christmas. The departure of Member of Parliament Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert three months ago has left the constituency without representation, prompting questions about the management of crucial projects and funds allocated to the area. The void left by Dalrymple-Philibert’s resignation extends to critical matters, such as the recently allocated $22 million for the Constituency-Based Mitigation and Cleaning Programme and an additional $20 million under the Constituency Development Fund. 

The absence of a Member of Parliament has raised concerns about who is overseeing these initiatives and ensuring their effective implementation.

Surprisingly, both major political parties, the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP), have been notably silent on the issue of a by-election for Trelawny Southern. Despite inquiries into the matter, the JLP has offered minimal information, with a statement from the party’s General Secretary suggesting that the Prime Minister holds the final responsibility for overseeing projects in the constituency. CVM News understands that the Mayor is expected to play a crucial role in the interim management of the constituency. However, the lack of urgency from political parties to fill the vacant seat has left residents wondering about the future representation of Trelawny Southern.

According to the Representation of the People Act, there is no stipulated timeframe for calling a by-election at the constituency level. Dr. Dayton Campbell, the General Secretary of the People’s National Party, has indicated that the matter is not currently a priority for the party. Glasspole Brown, the Director of Elections at the Electoral Office of Jamaica, clarified that the discretion to call a by-election rests solely with the Prime Minister. History, he added, shows a lack of a consistent timeline for such events, with some by-elections being delayed beyond two years and others called within months. As political speculation swirls, there has been no official announcement from the JLP regarding a potential replacement for Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert. Unofficial sources suggest the departed MP may reappear on the ballot in the future.

The People’s National Party has nominated newcomer Fabian Davis as their candidate, who is also set to compete for the Duncans Division in Trelawny Northern. The seat became vacant after Dalrymple-Philibert resigned from her role as Speaker of the House of Representatives following a ruling by the Integrity Commission, which recommended charges for making false statements in her statutory declarations. The political landscape remains uncertain for Trelawny Southern, as residents eagerly await the resolution of this prolonged absence of representation.

Reporter: Natalia Clarke
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