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  • More than 50 per cent turnout for security forces, election day workers

    BY KIMMO MATTHEWS & ALPHEA SAUNDERS Observer staff reporters

     

    MORE than 50 per cent of police, soldiers and election day workers voted yesterday ahead of Thursday’s general election.

    Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said final figures on the turnout would, however, not be available until today. He maintained, however, that, it has been a very good day as far as reports [received are concerned]”.

    There were 10,041 police personnel, 26,498 election day workers, and 2,569 soldiers on the list for yesterday’s voting. The law allows them to vote three days before the rest of the population to ensure their availability for election day duties.

    By all accounts, yesterday’s voting took place without event, according to the Electoral Office of Jamaica, but there were on-the-ground reports of some persons being unable to exercise their franchise because their names were not on the lists.

     

     


    “If for some reason there was a soldier or police who was overlooked in terms of names added to the list, then it means they would vote on Thursday,” Fisher told theJamaica Observer at the close of voting yesterday.

     

    “It means their name would be on the regular [voters’] list. When we got the list from the [Police] High Command and the head of the military and there were names that were not included, then their names would remain on the regular list and that’s the list they would vote on,” the electoral boss said.

    In the meantime, the large number of police and soldiers who yesterday came out to cast their votes said they had closely reviewed policies that the country’s two major political parties had put forward before they made their decision about who they wanted to lead them for the next four to five years.

    Some members of the security forces, who identified themselves as first-time voters, said that despite all the political hype and talk they did not make their decision based on emotions, but were determined to set an example for other Jamaicans to follow.

    “I, for one, was a person who made my decision… on the policies and the plans that the political parties have to go forward,” said a male member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).

    One female soldier, who said she was a first-time voter, said for her it was about the plans the parties had put forward to lead her into the future.

    “Listen, I am a young person [and] the decision I make now will affect me over the next four years, so I had to look closely at what both parties had to offer,” she said.

    The two were part of the large number of military personnel who came out to cast their vote at Up Park Camp, the headquarters of the JDF.

    “Voting at this location began on time and without incident,” said Major Denston Smalling when our news team visited Up Park Camp.

    At Harman Barracks where a number of policemen and women voted, there were reports that polling stations opened seven minutes past the 8:00 am schedule.

    “Separate and apart from the late start, things progressed smoothly,” said Vernon Duncan, returning officer at Harman Barracks.

    Meanwhile, at the Denham Town Police Station Deputy Superintendent George McDonald, the officer in charge of operations for the West Kingston Division, said the voting process progressed well during the day.

    Police officers were also out early at the Elletson Road Police Station to cast their ballots.

    “Right now I am happy to be here; it was a case where I was not planning to vote but today I have decided otherwise,” said one of the officers at that station.

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  • BREAKING: JLP supporters attacked in Canterbury drive-by

    The third gun attack in as many weeks has resulted in yet more casualties for a gathering of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) campaign workers in Canterbury, St James – shortly after 8pm on Monday.

    The community, located just on the outskirts of the second city Montego Bay, is now gripped with tension and fears of reprisals as the group was reportedly ambushed during a drive-by shooting. 

    According to initial reports from the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), the group was startled by a car, when a man alighted the vehicle and began firing shots at them.

    Following the shooting, all four workers were rushed to the Cornwall Regional Hospital, where they are undergoing treatment.

    Loop News understands that the shooter reportedly went back in the car, which sped away.

    This is the third incident in St James in which JLP supporters have been shot.

    Four have died in the separate shootings, while the police contend that the previous incidents at a JLP mass meeting in Sam Sharpe Square, and days later in Flanker, were gang-related.

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  • Bus driver beaten by JLP supporters — JUTC chairman

    KINGSTON, Jamaica — Chairman of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) Garnett Roper claims that one of the company’s bus drivers has been hospitalised after he was beaten, allegedly by a group of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters.

    "The reports we received are that the driver was carrying a group of supporters from the JLP when they attempted to remove a section of the emergency exit," Roper told OBSERVER ONLINE.

    According to Roper, the driver instructed the men to stop and he was attacked and beaten.

    Kimmo Matthews

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  • 18 JUTC buses rented to JLP damaged,

    KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is reporting that 18 of its buses, which were rented to the Jamaica Labour Party for its conference in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew, on Sunday, have been damaged.

    "A total of 71 buses were rented to JLP and it's supporters on Sunday and 18 of these buses were returned damaged," Garnett Roper, head of the State-owned bus company told OBSERVER ONLINE.

    Roper said 10 of the buses were severely damaged and cannot be sent back on the road until they are repaired.

    Kimmo Matthews

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  • Political rally shooting victim released from hospital

    A woman who was wounded in a shooting at a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) mass rally in Montego Bay, St James earlier this month, has been released from the Cornwall Regional Hospital.

    The woman, identified by her alias "Mampy", works for JLP candidate for West Central St James, Marlene Malahoo Forte, who announced the development on social media platform Twitter on Friday.

    "Celebrating life with Mampy who was discharged from CRH today after being shot and injured at JLP mass meeting," Malahoo Forte tweeted along with a photo of her and the woman, apparently outside the hospital.

    The shooting incident occurred at approximately 10:20 pm on February 7, following a dispute between persons who were in attendance at the mass meeting at Sam Sharpe Square. At the end of the shooting, two men laid dead, while three other persons nursing gunshot wounds - including Mampy - were taken to hospital for treatment. One of the injured later succumbed to injuries in the hospital.

    Malahoo Forte received backlash on social media after she tweeted a photo of herself with an injured Mampy at the hospital following the shooting.

    Source: Loop

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