All set! - 150 candidates nominated for December 29 election

All set! - 150 candidates nominated for December 29 election

EOJ to confirm number of candidates after recount today

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Observer senior reporter

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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THE Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) will today indicate whether the final count of candidates for the upcoming General Election who were appointed during yesterday's Nomination Day exercise remains at the 150 announced initially.

Shortly after the close of Nomination Day activities yesterday, the EOJ signalled that a total 150 candidates were nominated to contest the General Election scheduled for December 29. But speaking with the Observer yesterday, Director of Elections Orette Fisher said a final count would be done today.

"I want to point out, however, and it is very important, that the count we have given is very preliminary because I cannot give a final count until the nomination forms come in from all the constituencies and we are able to go through them," the director of elections said.

"Say, for example, someone in calling in the nomination data (to the EOJ head offices) overlooked an Independent or any of the smaller parties, then it means our figures could be out by one or two. So even though this figure should be fairly accurate it has to be viewed as preliminary," he said, noting that the information on those forms is what is used to prepare the ballots used on election day.

He noted that the principle of a recount was not alien.

"It's a similar thing when you do the count on election night, those figures are preliminary, you have a final count the following day with the returning officer. I am saying the figures that were called into my office, I want you to consider them preliminary," Fisher said, noting that while in the final analysis the number might not vary, a final count was still necessary

"Until we check it, I don't want to consider it final," he emphasised.

A breakdown of the overall candidacy figures showed that 63 candidates were nominated for the ruling Jamaica Labour Party as well as for the Opposition People's National Party.

The Marcus Garvey People's Political Party fielded 10 candidates — Robert Cove, who is contesting the St Thomas Western seat; Ian Flemmings, St Thomas Eastern; Clifford Barnett, St James West Central; Uppon Eric Blake, St Catherine South West; Leon Burrell, St Catherine South Eastern; Barton Garth, St Catherine North Central; Allan Martin, St Andrew East Central; Horage Hugo Matthews, St Andrew South Eastern; Arlington Seaton, Kingston Western; and Michael A Lorne, Kingston Central.

Meanwhile, seven candidates are on record as nominating to run on a National Democratic Movement ticket. They are Peter Anthony Flemmings, Portland Western; Eton Williams, Clarendon Northern; Earl Delisser, St Andrew Eastern; Joan Porteous, St Andrew West Rural; Terence Arthur Jerome Lindo, St Andrew North Eastern; Curtis Campbell, St Andrew North Western; and Aldith Mary Grant-Lee, St Andrew Western.

Six independents also threw their hats in the ring. They are Andrew Wayne Willis, who is contesting the St Ann South Western seat; Roystan Richards, St James East Central; Guthrie Gene, St Catherine North Western; Byron Sylvester Patton, St Andrew South East; Damion Omar Crawford, St Andrew East Rural; and Annmarie Thomas, St Andrew South West.

Ras Astor Black's Jamaica Alliance Movement fielded one candidate — Black himself.

Yesterday, Fisher, who is presiding over what will be his first parliamentary poll as director of elections, said the Nomination Day activities went without incident. The last general elections was held in September 2007.

"I am a hundred per cent satisfied with the work that was put in by the staff and the results that we got," said Fisher. "I would like to go on record as congratulating all the returning officers and other members of the field staff because my reports were that persons were treated very courteously and that persons felt they were treated with due respect, irrespective of whatever party they were from."

In the meantime, he said there was only one report of a candidate having difficulty completing the nomination process. "I heard of one person who came and the form was not properly completed and the person had to go back. I don't remember which constituency and I am not sure if the individual returned, but from all reports from my offices we did not have any difficulties, any glitches or any problems," said Fisher.

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