The by-election date was announced last night by prime minister and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness at a rally in Port Antonio, the parish capital on the island's north-eastern coast.
Holness told tyhe large throng of party supporters, that nominationNomination Day will be on March 8, which he informed will also be International Women's Day, as well as the birthday of JLP stalwarth Lady Bustamante, the wife of the JLP's founder Sir Alexander Bustamante.
Holness also pointed out that March 8, 2001 was the anniversary of the by-election in St Ann North Eastern which was won by Labour and Social Security Minister Shahine Robinson.
The Portland Eastern by-election will be a contest between the PNP's Vice President Senator Damion Crawford, and the JLP's Ann-Marie Vaz, the wife of Portland Western MP Daryl Vaz.
Dr Bloomfield won the seat in the February 25, 2016 General Election receiving 8,606 votes (57 per cent) to the JLP's Derron Wood, who got 7,220 votes (44.6 per cent). 34,396 people were eligible to vote in that general election. Of that figure, 15,110 people voted; a voter turnout of 43.93 per cent.
The second term Member of parliament Dr. Bloomfield was found dead in his Passley Gardens home in the constituency on February 2 with more than 20 stab wounds.
Yesterday, the police reported that they had charged 20-year-old Simeon Sutherland in connection with Bloomfield's murder. Sutherland had been initially taken into custody and released late last month.
On Monday the PNP's Executive Committee announced Crawford as the candidate after much speculation. It was expected that long-time aspirant for the seat, Andrea Moore, would have been the candidate. But appartently she stepped aside pointing out that “Damion and I will be campaigning vigorously together to ensure victory for the People's National Party,” in a PNP news release . “There will be no divide here; it is one mission — victory for the PNP,” Moore said.
- Countries: Jamaica