Relaxed atmosphere, moderate voting in St Elizabeth

Garfield Myers

Friday, December 30, 2011



 

SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — A relaxed atmosphere and a sense of moderate rather than heavy voting prevailed on election day in St Elizabeth.

All across the parish supporters of the two major political parties appeared to mix easily and happily with each other.

One report of a minor scuffle at Middlequarters in South West St Elizabeth remained unconfirmed in late afternoon.

"There were no incidents... No untoward reports; though there was some anxiety among supporters of both parties who wanted to make sure their candidates interests were protected ," said Superintendent Maurice Robinson who is chief of police in St Elizabeth.

At BB Coke High School in Junction, South East St Elizabeth, supporters from opposing sides queued patiently to cast their votes and laughed and chatted easily with each other when the Observer visited at midday.

The SE St Elizabeth candidates Frank Witter of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and Richard Parchment People's National Party (PNP) underlined the light-hearted atmosphere, cheerily greeting each other as they crossed paths at Nain.

In South West St Elizabeth, where incumbent Chris Tufton (JLP) faced off with Hugh Buchanan (PNP), election workers at the Flagaman Primary School reported at 1:00 pm that voting was "not yet quite 50 per cent".

A few minutes later, at Claremont, there was an unexpectedly long line -- showing a mix of green and orange shirts of persons waiting to vote. At Williamsfield, a fairly lengthy line was mostly green.

In the parish capital, Black River, the main town in South West St Elizabeth, voters could be easily counted on the fingers as election workers and security forces relaxed at the Black River Primary School.

"The voting was heavier earlier, but there is a lull in the afternoon," one police officer told the Observer.

There was a similar slow vote in early afternoon in Lacovia at the southern fringe of North West St Elizabeth, where the veteran JC Hutchinson of the JLP is being challenged by the PNP's Richard Rowe. Reports from across NW St Elizabeth suggested unusually slow voting up to mid-afternoon.

In Santa Cruz, the main town in NE St Elizabeth where Raymond Pryce of the PNP sought to hold off the challenge of the JLP's Corris Samuels, soldiers and police prevented journalists -- including at least two television crews -- from entering the compound of the main polling centre at the Santa Cruz Primary and Junior High.

Here, too, voting was moderate in early to mid-afternoon. "All quiet," was how an election observer from the Citizens' Action for Free and Fair Elections described the situation to the Observer whose team did gain access to the compound.


OTHER STORIES
Which party is in the lead?
Which political party is in the lead? Prime Minister Andrew Holness ‘called it’ on December 4 and Don Anderson, the most credible pollster in the business went into the field the next da ... more
JLP claims Hanover
LUCEA, Hanover — Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader and prime minister Andrew Holness took his party's election campaign to the parish of Hanover on Friday, where he told constituents that the ... more
Shows will go on despite election
PRIME Minister Andrew Holness's announcement on Sunday of a December 29 election date has resulted in very little disruption to a number of entertainment events planned for this season. Some promote ... more
Looking for Christ in our leaders
AS we avidly watched the news with the election highlights, the telephone rang. It was Anne Marie Rhoden who assigns readers for our church services. She asked us to participate in the New Year's ... more
There was a plane over Tivoli, so what?
The shallow brouhaha over the United States surveillance plane which assisted us when we had to fight back drug thugs last year is much ado about nothing. Had we not been in the throes of an el ... more
Carnival-like atmosphere as 6 candidates nominated in St Mary
ANNOTTO BAY, St Mary — Nomination Day activities across St Mary took on a carnival-like atmosphere yesterday as six candidates were registered to contest the December 29 general election. ... more
Paula Kerr Jarrett has middle name issues
SANDY BAY, Hanover — An issue with the inclusion of her middle name on the ballot paper caused a brief delay in the nomination of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Paula Kerr Jarrett at t ... more
Country not ready for media endorsement of political parties
JOURNALIST of the Year 2011, Nadine McLeod, has suggested that Jamaicans are not yet ready to handle the endorsement of political parties by the local media. McLeod said there were allegations ... more
If we put country first...
If only we could paint a vision of calm waters ahead in Jamaica's fiftieth year of Independence. The hard truth, though, is that 2012 promises to be as tough as any since the global recession ... more
Can Portia beat Andrew?
Dear Editor, In all my years of election watching this is the only time that I just cannot predict the outcome. This is the first time that I can recall a party calling an election well before it ... more