Two televised debates scheduled between JLP, PNP ahead of local polls Loop Jamaica

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Jamaicans will get a chance to hear from some of their prospective local government representatives in the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) in two televised debates ahead of the Local Government Election on February 26.

The political debates are scheduled for February 15 and 17, and are to be hosted by the Jamaica Debates Commission (JDC) at the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) in St Andrew.

The debates are to run for 90 minutes each, beginning at 9pm.

Vice-Chairman of the JDC, Brian Schmidt, made the announcement on Friday during a press conference at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew. He shared that the commission will spend $24 million to host the debates, including post-debate polling.

Schmidt said the first debate will focus on local government policy and how it impacts Jamaicans, in particular whether the current system is fit-for-purpose or it needs re-engineering.

“For example, is there a clear enough demarcation between the roles and responsibilities of municipal administrations and those of central government,” said Schmidt.

The second debate will look at local government and whether it works.

“The parameters are very, very interesting. We’re expecting discussions maybe on tourism, inclusive of housing, planning and development that goes with it. There’s urban development and town planning. There’s the environment, sewage, sanitation, garbage collection, enforcement of NEPA guidelines, public health. There’s disaster risk management. There’s the issue of access to and protection of our beaches. There’s agriculture and fisheries, protection of sanctuaries. There’s infrastructure of roads, streetlights, drainage, gullies and the development of economic drivers through the length and breadth of our country,” said Schmidt.

Journalists will pose questions at each of the debates, and the moderator will also be a journalist.

The debates will be followed by a poll which will look at the impact of the events and not which teams won or lost.

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