The People’s National Party, PNP, is now awaiting the green light from the Electoral Office of Jamaica, EoJ, to officially assume control of the various parish councils following its massive win in yesterday’s Local Government Elections.
Following the preliminary count of ballots the Party won 13 of the 14 parish councils including the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, KSAC
There was tie in the Trelawny Parish Council.
Scores of new faces are on the slate of incoming councillors with a fresh line up of Mayors set to be elected in coming weeks.
Addressing jubilant supporters at PNP Headquarters last night, Party President Portia Simpson-Miller said it was time for the country to settle down now that the elections are over.
She also urged the winners of the elections to maintain a high level of accountability in carrying out their duties.
Local Government Minister Noel Arscott is to meet with the councillors to plan the way forward in the development of Parish Councils.
Source: RJR News
This was the second time in three months that the PNP was celebrating, having crushed the JLP 42-21 seats in parliamentary elections last December.
But yesterday’s poll was characterised by a low voter turnout of 34.5 per cent, according to the Electoral Office of Jamaica, a significant drop from the 53 per cent voter turnout in the December election.
The victory represented a reversal of fortunes for the PNP which won only three of the 13 councils in the 2007 Local Government polls.
In yesterday’s elections, the PNP took 149 of the 228 divisions. The JLP won 77, while two divisions went to independents — Lester Crooks (Riverside in Hanover) and Paul Patmore (Lorrimers in Trelawny).
Early yesterday afternoon, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, in what appeared like a premature concession statement, expressed concern at the lack of voter interest in the elections, describing it as a threat to democracy.
“In a low voter turnout environment, the winning party only needs to use national resources to take care of the small portion of the electorate that votes for them and possibly placate the portion of the electorate that votes against them,” Holness said.
“This is the recipe for staying in power. However, without an engaged citizenry, oversight and accountability for government action are weak. Eventually governments stray from the best interest of all the people to focus on the interests of the party faithful.
“Government is therefore captured by political elite serving a voting minority. This is a threat to our democracy. I am concerned,” said Holness, who also recommended that the phenomenon of low voter turnout in elections be studied carefully.
Last night, at exactly 10 o’clock, a beaming Portia Simpson Miller, the prime minister and PNP president, told jubilant supporters at PNP headquarters on Old Hope Road in Kingston that local government is critical to the development of Jamaica and to ensure the delivery of services to communities.
“We have done it again,” she told the crowd, many of whom began celebrating a mere hour after the polls were closed yesterday and long before the Electoral Office of Jamaica had officially declared a victory for the governing party.
Not even the persistent raindrops could dampen the spirits of the supporters who immediately got into party mode as they awaited the address from the party leader.
“We are humbled by your support, and [I am] personally humbled by the support as I moved across the country working in the wee hours,” she added.
The opposition leader, she said, asked for a referendum and he got one on December 29 and another last night.
In an obvious reference to the JLP’s campaign slogan for the Local Government Elections, Simpson Miller said the people of Jamaica have “balanced the ting” by forming a union of local and central government.
“Now elections are behind us, the Government can settle down to face the challenges and they are many,” Simpson Miller said.
She wasted no time getting down to business as she introduced councillor for the Norman Gardens Division and vice-president of the party, Angela Brown Burke, as the next mayor of Kingston.
Simpson Miller also challenged the councillors to be accountable and responsible.
“There must be accountability, and they must operate in a responsible way,” she said.
Source: Jamaica Observer