Smooth sail­ing

... but turnout low as spe­cial ser­vice vot­ers cast bal­lots

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE -

VOT­ING BY spe­cial-ser­vice of­fi­cers yes­ter­day went smoothly even as the voter turnout was said to be low. Di­rec­tor of Elec­tions Or­rette Fisher told The Gleaner that vot­ing pro­ceeded slowly through­out the day.

He said there were no re­ports of long lines or high voter turnout at any of the polling sta­tions.

Fisher also said there were no com­plaints about names not be­ing on the vot­ers’ list.

More than 38,000 spe­cialser­vice of­fi­cers were sched­uled to cast their bal­lots yes­ter­day ahead of next week’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions.

The Elec­toral Of­fice of Ja­maica (EOJ) said the group is made up of 10,196 po­lice per­son­nel, 2,373 sol­diers and 26,308 elec­tion day work­ers.

Ap­prox­i­mately 230 lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing schools, churches, po­lice sta­tions, court­houses and mil­i­tary bases, were set up to fa­cil­i­tate vot­ing be­tween 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The EOJ has ad­vised that spe­cial elec­tors who did not vote yes­ter­day will not be able to cast their bal­lots on Mon­day be­cause their names have al­ready been re­moved from the civil­ian vot­ers’ list.

PREPA­RA­TIONS ON TRACK FOR MON­DAY

Mean­while, the EOJ boss said his of­fice was con­tin­u­ing prepa­ra­tions for Mon­day’s lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions. He said prepa­ra­tion was on track for the elec­tions, but noted that work would con­tinue through­out the week­end into Mon­day. Fisher said his aim was to run the elec­tion with­out any glitch, not­ing that the EOJ was analysing, as­sess­ing and putting in place mea­sures to en­sure a smooth process. Com­ment­ing on plans that have been put in place for elec­tors in volatile com­mu­ni­ties, Fisher said the EOJ had met with the Po­lice High Com­mand and the mil­i­tary and had been as­sured that Ja­maicans should have no fear in go­ing out to cast their bal­lots on Mon­day. Ri­val fac­tions in Mon­tego Bay, Span­ish Town and West Kingston have been en­gaged in a bloody war in re­cent times, which has re­sulted in the killing of dozens of peo­ple. “I am sat­is­fied that what they have ex­plained, the things that should be put in place, should mit­i­gate against those risks. I am not in a po­si­tion to dis­close the strate­gies that they will be em­ploy­ing, (but) hav­ing had the dis­cus­sions, we are sat­is­fied that ev­ery­thing that can be done will be done to en­sure that elec­tors and work­ers are safe.”

GLAD­STONE TAY­LOR/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Par­tic­i­pants in what was la­belled a ‘silent protest’ lead by Ja­maica AIDS Sup­port for Life to com­mem­o­rate the In­ter­na­tional Day to Elim­i­nate Vi­o­lence against Women in the con­text of HIV gath­ered at the Half-Way Tree Trans­port Cen­tre in St An­drew yes­ter­day.

FISHER

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