EOJ ready for Clarendon South Eastern by-election

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EOJ ready for Clarendon South Eastern by-election

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) is reporting that all is in place for the Clarendon South Eastern parliamentary by-election next Monday.


Addressing a Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the company's Beechwood Avenue, St Andrew headquarters yesterday, Director of Elections Glasspole Brownsaid the EOJ has already received the money it needs to conduct the by-election and the election day workers are already in place.


“The budget ($25 million) has been fully funded by the Ministry of Finance,” Brown told Observer editors and reporters.


“We have selected the workers and their training will be completed today (yesterday),” added Brown as he noted that just over 300 election day workers will be deployed, with that number climbing to more than 500 when the EOJ's security officers, or “one-day police”, are added.


“We are treating it as a specialist constituency, meaning that the EOJ's head office will basically provide the personnel to supervise the polling stations,” declared Brown.


He said the plan is to operate 135 polling stations in the constituency.

Voting is scheduled to begin at 7:00 am and close at 6:00 pm, with the preliminary result expected before 7:30 pm.


The EOJ will set up an election centre at its regional office in May Pen, with the counting centre at Vere Technical High School in the constituency.


Two candidates, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Pearnel Charles Jr and former People's National Party (PNP) standard bearer Derrick Lambert, were nominated on February 12 to contest the by-election to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of the long-serving Member of Parliament, the JLP's Rudyard Spencer.


With the PNP deciding that it will not contest the by-election, Lambert is running as an independent, even though the JLP is adamant that he is secretly representing his former party, which is staying away from the contest because it fears another electoral defeat.


Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is also the JLP leader, recently declared that the by-election is being used as a test, while the country prepares for the next general election constitutionally due in 2021.


“This by-election will be a test, obviously, for the Jamaica Labour Party's organisation in this seat; it will be a test as to the pulse of the people. So, it's one thing to have a poll to say what people think, but the real poll is the poll of the ballots, so you will get a good sense from this as to what people are thinking,” said Holness.


The PNP has declared that it would not take part in a race not occasioned by any personal or national emergency, but by the political exigencies of the governing party, months before a general election is due.


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