Voting underway in Portmore by-electionMonday, March 27, 2017
ST CATHERINE, Jamaica — Heavy voting is underway at Elim Early Childhood Development Centre, one of 38 polling divisions, to select the next Greater Portmore North councillor in today's by-election.
Teacher Ann Marie Lewis is contesting the division for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), while accountant Gary Nicholson is seeking to keep the division for the Opposition People's National Party (PNP).
Voting began at 7:00 am.
The by-election is as a result of the vacancy left by the sudden death of PNP Councillor Michael 'Fisher' Edwards in January.
The Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) officer in charge, who asked not to be named, told OBSERVER ONLINE that approximately 200 people have voted so far.
"There is a steady flow. people have been coming," the ECJ officer said.
Region 4 chairman for the PNP, Denise Daley, who was present at the polling station, stressed that the division is a "crucial" one.
As it stood following last November’s local government election, the PNP had won 10 of the 12 seats in the Portmore Municipal Council (PMC) and 11 seats in the rest of St Catherine. The JLP had only two seats in Portmore and 18 seats across the rest of the parish. However, as the 12 PMC members sit in the wider St Catherine Municipal Corporation as well, the PNP has held on to control of the parish council by a margin of 21-20.
Today's winner will tip the scale in their party's favour.
"We are shoring up. It is a crucial one and we have to ensure that we retain the seat for the party," Daley said.
She added that things are progressing "great" and that she is hoping the day remains peaceful.