Please read this post for a background to the following:
Yes friends, the by-election in Western Portland, between the Jamaica Labour Party' (JLP's) Daryl Vaz and the People's National Party's (PNP's) Kenneth Rowe, is in full swing.
At 12:00 p.m., today, it was reported that 60% of the voters, on the voters list, have already voted...
[Usually high voter-turn-outs in Jamaica indicate a change in leadership...But West-Portland may be the exception to the rule, as many Portlanders feel that Daryl Vaz is one of the few Members of Parliament (MPs) in Jamaica, who is really performing (doing projects in the constituency that is of real benefit to them.)
Since the announcement of the bi-election by Prime Minster Bruce Golding, a month ago, West-Portland has been awash with both JLP and PNP politicians.
...All canvassing the constituency to ensure that they get the maximum number of voters, today.
As a result, it has been said that the economy of Western Portland, has been booming].
No doubt, many West-Portlanders, in an attempt to avoid the rains that are promised later by the National Meteorological Service (Met Service), have voted early.
(The weather forecasters have predicted scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms for Portland and have put the parish under a Flash Flood Watch...meaning that flooding could occur at any time, in low-lying and flood-prone areas).
All of Jamaica should know by 9:00 p.m.tonight, who has won this bi-election...
Surely the stakes are high for both the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the Opposition People's National Party (PNP).
Currently the composition of the 59-member Jamaican Parliament is JLP 32: PNP 27.
(The Appeal Court's decision for a by-election, has left the constituency of West-Portland without an MP).
A win for the JLP would mean a more comfortable position, when key votes are needed on matters of national importance, as the balance would shift back to JLP 33: PNP 27. (Thus giving the required 60 members of Parliament.)
However, with three (3) other JLP MPs having dual-citizenship cases in the courts, all possible four (4) by-elections are of high importance to both parties...as the party with even the slimmest of majorities (31) would form the next government.
Overall, the reports are that the elections have been running smoothly, with a few complaints that the automatic voting system is causing more delays at the larger polling stations. These stations have had to resort to the manual system, to improve efficiency.
Surely, this is something that requires extensive investigation by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (the body which oversees the operational component of elections in Jamaica)...
As a nation, we can't afford to be spending money on technology that is either breaking-down or non-operational due to lack of training by the people operating it.
As, usual, we at Girl With a Purpose (GWAP) Blog, will keep you updated re any key occurrences in West-Portland and the results of the by-election, throughout the rest of the day.
1) Power 106 FM, March 1-23, 2009
2) Nationwide Radio,March 23, 2009