KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s two main political candidates have nominated persons to contest all 63 seats at stake in the September 3 general election, according to figures released by the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (EOJ).
The EOJ said that the candidates of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) have filed nomination papers in all 63 constituencies and that the total number of candidates facing the electorate early next month are 139.
The police said that Tuesday’s Nomination Day was relatively peaceful and the EOJ said that there are also 13 independent candidates in the race.
Those independents will contest the seats in St Ann North Western, Trelawny Northern, Trelawny Southern, St James Central, Westmoreland Central, Westmoreland Eastern, Manchester Central, Clarendon North Western, St Catherine North Western, St Catherine South Western and St Catherine North Central.
The EOJ said that there are 34 females among the 139 candidates and that it is now intensifying preparations for the Special Services Voting Day on Monday, August 31 and election day, including assigning symbols to the independent candidates, printing of ballots, distribution of supplies and preparation of polling stations, the commission said.
Both Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips have expressed confidence in winning the election.
Holnesss, who led the JLP to a 32-31 victory in the 2016 general election but ended up with 34 seats after by-elections in 2017 and 2019.victory in the 2016 election, said he was confident also of being retained as the parliamentary representative for the St. Andrew West Central.
“I have represented this constituency since September 15, 1997 making it almost 23 years. I remain committed to the people of West Central St. Andrew who placed their faith in me as a young entrant in the political scene back then and we have grown together,” he added.
Phillips, who will contest the East Central St Andrew constituency, he has been representing since 1994, said that the PNP is not perturbed by opinion polls and is equally confident of winning the September 3 general election.
“In the Caribbean pollsters have gotten it dreadfully wrong in the last few months. In St. Kitts-Nevis, In Guyana….the polls that count are the polls on the ground,” said, Phillips, disputing also concerns about his health.
“I am very very healthy, I take no medication, I am fit and ready to go,” said the 70-year-old leader of the PNP, who earlier this year was treated for stage three colon cancer.
Police said that while the coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols were observed by many, party supporters were largely seen “not wearing masks, they were still hanging out from motor vehicles during motorcades and they were not maintaining any social distancing guidelines.
“Based on the feedback that we have gotten from all the divisions across the country, everything went relatively well. There were no major incidents that warranted any serious police intervention, for the most part. All the nomination centres, those were carefully manned, they were organised. The social distancing protocol was in place,” said Senior Superintendent Stephanie Lindsay, head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force Corporate Communications Unit.