One of the most peaceful elections, say cops, parties
BY KIMMO MATTHEWS Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, December 30, 2011
AT the official 5 o'clock close of polls yesterday there were no reports of any major election-related violence, prompting the police and spokespersons for the two major political parties to declare the day a success.
Despite the relative peace throughout the day, the police have not left anything to chance and have maintained a strong presence on the streets well after polls were closed.
The police high command had on the eve of election day promised that the Jamaica Constabulary Force would have done everything within its power to ensure peace and safety.
The effort, which included mass deployment of police personnel, especially in areas that are prone to violence, seems to have borne the desired results.
"Things went as we had planned them. There were no reports of any major incidents," said Glenmore Hinds, the deputy commissioner of police with responsibility for operations.
Meanwhile, People's National Party spokesman Delano Franklyn said that apart from reports of voter intimidation within a few constituencies across the island, there were no reports of violence.
"I would say that it is a peaceful election, generally speaking... We are pleased that it as relatively free from fear and that people were able to exercise their franchise in peace," Franklyn told the Observer.
Jamaica Labour Party spokesman Delano Seivwright could not be reached for comment last night, but he had told the Observer yesterday afternoon that he received no reports of any election-related violence.
In Spanish Town, St Catherine, a man was detained by the police for voter intimidation, but was released at the close of voting. The man was reportedly among a group of people who were preventing other persons from casting their ballots at a polling station in the vicinity of Twickenham Park.
DCP Hines said yesterday that other persons could have been detained for voter intimidation but he was unable to give a figure.
Over in Mountain View in the Corporate Area, there were reports of gunfire but no one was injured. Residents also reported that there were men with high-powered weapons walking about in the area. However, this was not confirmed by the police.
— Paul Henry and Conrad Hamilton contributed to this story
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