Monday, March 26, 2012

Election Day..

Today is Jamaica's local elections day. The prime minister was elected on December 29, but today was the day for local elections. The island closed the schools, the banks closed at noon. The point is to make it easier for people to be able to vote.

Renee's school had a half day so when we went to pick her up we came upon a polling place. There were 2 tables along side the road and lots of people in orange shirts! When the rain came, the two that were in charge sat in a car. But the sun came out and I was able to get some pictures.

There are two major political parties. The People's National Party wears orange. The Jamaican Labor Party wears green. When the candidates are stumping, they and their followers wear these colors.

During the prime minister elections we were advised against wearing the two colors out and about. It could be dangerous.

From my pictures you can tell we live in "orange country" and I can imagine that if your are a "laborite" you may want to not brag about it. This is one of the reasons schools are closed. They are not used for polling stations but rather prefer that the students are off the streets during these political times.

Here are some newspaper articles about today.

Streets of Mandeville uneventful for Local Government Election

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter

Monday, March 26, 2012

MANDEVILLE, Manchester- Up to midday the atmosphere on the streets of Mandeville was that of a regular business day.

Party colours were few and far between and none of the fanfare that was seen in the December 29 General Election.

A representative from the Electoral Office in Manchester said that voter turnout has been “extremely slow” for the Local Government Election.

Save for concerns that voters that turned out early to vote at polling station #31 at Grove Road in Mandeville had to cast their ballot in darkness, there were no reports of any challenges from Election Day workers.

The Presiding Officer at the polling station told the Observer that was not the case.

She said whereas in the last General Election a battery lamp was necessary for the voters to cast their ballots there was no need for it this time around. She said that due to the time of year the sun was up early and they had the benefit of sunlight.

“We have electricity to count the ballots after five” she said, looking in the direction of the extension cord stretching from the HEART/Trust facility on the compound into the previous Jamal Centre which served as the polling station.

Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Derrick Cochrane for the Area Three Police Division, which consists of the parishes of Manchester, St. Elizabeth said that the police and the army are on alert.

“Voting has been going steadily through the Electoral Divisions. The police is out there and the army. We all are creating that enabling environment for the people to express their democratic will” said ACP Cochrane.

Read more:

Darkness at Mandeville polling station

Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer

Voters casting their ballots in the Local Government election at Polling Station # 31 on Grove Road in Mandeville are doing so under dim light from kerosene lamps.

In the 2011 General Election, the authorities had used candles to provide light inside the dark building which once served as the JAMAL centre.

For several years, the building has not been in use for day to day activities.

Meanwhile, there has been low voter turn-out for the first hour and a half at polling stations across Manchester, however, voting started on time at 7 a.m.

The Member of Parliament for Central Manchester, the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Peter Bunting cast his vote at the Grove Road Polling Station at 7:14 a.m.

The Jamaica Labour Party’s Simon Sangster is running against the PNP’s Jones Oliphant for the Mandeville Division.

The seat was left vacant late last year when the JLP’s Sally Porteous resigned as councillor and as a member of the Jamaica Labour Party to take up the post of Custos of Manchester.

Manchester Polling Station in darkness

People’s National Party candidate, Peter Bunting shows his index finger after voting. (Dave Lindo/Photo)
Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer

People’s National Party candidate for Central Manchester, Peter Bunting at 7.10 a.m. became the first voter at Polling Station 32, located at Grove Road in Mandeville.

Speaking with the media after casting his vote, Bunting said his team was ready for the day. “We have well oiled machinery, we had our final workers meeting yesterday and everybody is motivated, and enthusiastic, barring any negative report during the course of the day I expect things to go smoothly.”

Bunting is going up against the Jamaica Labour Party’s candidate Danville Walker.

There was a major hiccup at the polling station, as the building was without electricity. Polling station 32 was in darkness and workers had to be using candles, while carrying out their duties.

Voting for the most part has been going smoothly throughout the constituency with the other polling stations opening on time and people turning out in their numbers to cast their vote.

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