KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday February 29, 2016 – As tensions rise in the absence of a final result from last Thursday’s election, both the provisional winner, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and the People’s National Party (PNP) are urging Jamaicans to be calm.
A routine recount of ballots has so far seen Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller’s PNP winning an additional seat, reducing the JLP margin of victory to one seat. The preliminary results gave the JLP 33 to the PNP’s 30, but after the PNP’s Dr. Winston Green was declared the winner in St. Mary South Eastern over the JLP’s Dr. Norman Dunn following the completion of the recount in that constituency on Saturday, that changed to JLP 32, PNP 31.
Director of Elections Orrette Fisher says has indicated he is unable to say exactly when the recount will be completed.
With reports of tension in some areas across the island, Simpson Miller has called on supporters of both political parties to remain calm as the constitutionally prescribed processes continue.
“All Jamaicans have a responsibility to ensure that Jamaica’s reputation as a mature democracy is preserved and nothing causes hurt to anyone,” she said, adding that the country has made important economic gains which Jamaicans cannot afford to reverse at this time, and everyone must ensure that we put Jamaica first.
Let us remain calm https://t.co/greltxJidb
— Portia SimpsonMiller (@PSimpsonMiller) February 28, 2016
The JLP also called for calm, with general secretary Dr. Horace Chang dismissing rumours that the process underway is resulting in a change in the elected government.
“Even the reported loss of Dr. Norman Dunn by nine votes has not affected the majority of the government, and we also feel confident that that result will be overturned at the end of the Magistrate’s recount. There have been no further changes regarding the victorious party,” he said.
Chang expressed concerns about the speed at which the count has been proceeding, as did the JLP leader.
The Prime Minister designate said yesterday that he has asked the Director of Elections to move as quickly as possible in completing the final count and certifying the majority of the new JLP government.
He stressed that any delay could have serious effects on Jamaica’s macroeconomic and financial market indicators.
Holness has also already started to meet with technocrats and various private sector interests.