The leaders of Jamaica’s two main opposition parties will not face off in national debates that were to be held before next Thursday’s general elections.

The ruling People’s National Party (PNP) has decided it will not participate “at any level whatsoever”.

The party’s general secretary Paul Burke has written to the chairman of the Jamaica Debates Commission Noel daCosta – ahead of this evening’s deadline by which both the PNP and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) were to respond about their participation – informing him of the decision.

In his letter, Burke stated that the PNP was sticking by its decision not to get involved, given that JLP leader Andrew Holness had not met the demands the party had outlined as conditions for its involvement in the debates one of which was for Holness to publicly apologize for his “defamatory and disrespectful” characterization of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

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