KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday March 1, 2016 — The recount is over and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has been declared the official winner of last Thursday’s general election.
The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) last night announced that the JLP held on to its win in the Western St Thomas constituency – the last seat to be recounted. Apart from the People’s National Party (PNP) picking up the St. Mary South Eastern seat following the recount in that constituency, all results remain the same.
The final count has left the JLP with a one-seat majority – 32 seats to the PNP’s 31. However, the winning party has filed a writ for a magisterial recount in St. Mary South Eastern, arguing that votes for its candidate Dr. Norman Dunn, which were accepted in the preliminary counting, were disallowed in the recount and ballots for the PNP’s Dr. Winston Green were improperly accepted.
Hours before the Western St Thomas seat was declared, the EOJ hosted a press conference at which Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said he was hoping to be able to advise the Governor General of the results of the February 25 poll by Wednesday.
Once the final results are submitted, the Governor General is clear to swear in JLP leader Andrew Holness as Prime Minister.
“It must be noted, however, that if there is a magisterial recount for any constituency, the final results can only be declared at the completion of (this process),” Fisher added.
Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) Dorothy Pine-McLarty gave the assurance that, despite the unprecedented close result, “the integrity of the (electoral) system is intact”.
“In furtherance of our democratic process, there is a recount, otherwise called the final count, which goes through the ballots in great detail in the presence of representatives of all parties, their agents, lawyers if necessary, and senior representatives of the EOJ. That commences the next day and goes on until completed,” she explained.
Meantime, Fisher has commended the almost 500 EOJ and about 26,000 others who were recruited and trained to work in the polls, saying they did extremely well and he was satisfied with the way they performed.
“They worked continuously…day and night, whenever required, in order for us to be prepared for this election. So, in terms of the workers and the election, I think given the timeframe within which we had to operate, we exceeded ourselves,” he said.