As Jamaica’s political parties prepare to nominate their candidates for the September 3 general election today (August 18), two Members of Parliament will have to sit out process due to COVID-19 scares.
Robert Montague and Andrew Wheatley, both MPs for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), are in voluntary isolation and will receive tests for the virus.
Spokesperson for the JLP, Kamina Johnson Smith, today said they will be absent “out of an abundance of caution and in the interests and safety of their constituents and Jamaica as a whole”. Both will instead be nominated by senior members of their campaign teams.
The two were at an Independence Day beach party with Mayor of Port Maria, Richard Creary, who revealed that he has tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday and has been in self-quarantine since last week.
Neither of the two MPs has symptoms of the virus, Johnson Smith said adding that they were not in Creary’s presence.
Approximately 130 candidates will be nominated during today’s proceedings as the country tries to navigate a short political campaign period further hindered by COVID-19 restrictions.
The JLP has 34 parliamentary seats to the People’s National Party’s 29, after it won 32 in the 2016 General Elections later adding another two in by-elections in 2017 and 2019.
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Jamaica has recorded 1,129 cases of the virus, with 285 active cases, up to yesterday evening.