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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06KINGSTON2313
2006-11-29 19:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Kingston
Cable title:  

PNP CAGEY OVER LOCAL ELECTION DATE

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  PINR  JM  XL 
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VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKG #2313 3331932
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 291932Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINGSTON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3981
INFO RUCNCOM/EC CARICOM COLLECTIVE
						C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 002313 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAR (RANDALL BUDDEN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/28/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR JM XL
SUBJECT: PNP CAGEY OVER LOCAL ELECTION DATE

REF: KINGSTON 2189

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION JAMES T. HEG FOR REASON 1.5(B) A
ND (D)

------
SUMMARY
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L KINGSTON 002313

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR WHA/CAR (RANDALL BUDDEN)

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/28/2016
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR JM XL
SUBJECT: PNP CAGEY OVER LOCAL ELECTION DATE

REF: KINGSTON 2189

Classified By: DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION JAMES T. HEG FOR REASON 1.5(B) A
ND (D)

--------------
SUMMARY
--------------


1. (C) The ruling People's National Party (PNP) continues its
evasiveness on when elections will finally be called. During
two recent private meetings with Emboffs, however, PNP
officials strongly suggested that local elections would be
held in January. General elections would be held, contacts
hinted, depending on the PNP's performance in local
elections. Today's media, however, reported that local polls
would "likely be postponed for another six months." Whether
this is an elaborate game of "pin the tail on the donkey" or
an indication that the PNP is seriously calculating the best
approach to ensuring victory in a general election is not
clear.

--------------
TO HOLD OR NOT TO HOLD, THAT IS THE QUESTION
--------------


2. (C) Poloff recently spoke with long-time PNP supporter and
Kingston area organizer Karen Cross regarding the
finalization of PNP candidate selection for the general
elections. The PNP held its Executive Committee meeting on
November 26, but failed to select all 60 required candidates.
Cross stated that the PNP was focused solely on selecting
candidates who would win their constituencies by a sizable
margin. Several long-time MPs who represented districts that
were only won by the PNP with a small margin, were
unceremoniously dumped and replaced with more popular
candidates. Additionally, Cross noted that Prime Minister
Portia Simpson Miller wanted only candidates that shared "her
vision."


3. (C) Poloff asked Cross when general elections would be
held. Cross noted that at the Executive Committee meeting,
every PNP official was dedicated to holding local elections
in January. Cross stated that the outcome of the local
elections would be the determining factor on when to hold
national elections. Cross explained, if the PNP did very
well in the local elections, the general elections would be
held immediately in order to capitalize on their success.
If, however, the PNP performs poorly, Cross intimated that
the PNP would delay elections until the fall in order to give
the PNP time to reorganize and direct their campaigning
efforts.


4. (C) Similarly, Minister of Local Government and
Environment Dean Peart strongly suggested that local
elections will be held in January during a recent meeting
with AMB. When AMB asked whether or not "all attention
would...be focused on cricket..." in January, Peart replied
"not really." He stated that there would be "a lot going
on." While he did not elaborate, he flashed a wry grin.


5. (U) Local media, however, is reporting that Minister of
Information and Development Donald Buchanan and Peart, while
not specifically stating local elections will be postponed,
noted that the decision to postpone local elections would be
based primarily on a report to be made to the Cabinet next
Monday (December 4). In order to postpone, a bill must be
submitted to parliament.

--------------
COMMENT
--------------

6. (SBU) In the same way the U.S. puzzled over the mystery
"Who Shot J.R.?" the question of when elections will be held
has become a popular parlor game amongst the Kingston
chattering classes. The PNP may, in fact, be engaging in a
campaign of disinformation in order to keep the Jamaican
Labour Party (JLP) slightly off-balanced and unable to
adequately plan for elections. It may also be, however, that
the PNP is worried about losing power. In the last local
elections (held in 2003), the JLP won 126 seats to the PNP's

101. The JLP also took control of 12 out of 13 local
councils. Faced with those numbers, declining popularity,
and ongoing scandals (reftel), the PNP may simply not have a
plan in place to win any election.
JOHNSON