Right Steps & Poui Trees


350 Words or Less: Two Election Results

I didn’t think that the results of both of these elections would be announced on the same day, but they were. The delays in the counting of some votes in some states in the US election meant that the announcement of Joe Biden as the President-elect didn’t take place until today. Thank goodness that there won’t be a second Trump term.

Biden made a victory speech tonight and it was Vice President-elect Kamala Harris who introduced him, giving a victory speech herself. I must note that Harris, the first woman to be elected as US Vice President, is the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants.

Also announced today was the win for Mark Golding in the PNP presidential election. He garnered 1740 votes, while Lisa Hanna got 1444 votes, with 96% of the delegates voting. Golding, who is now the 6th President of the PNP, will become the Leader of the Opposition. He gave an acceptance speech at PNP headquarters shortly after the result was announced this afternoon.

Mark Golding delivering his speech today. At the table beside him in this photo are his wife Sandra and one of his daughters.

I had no vote in either election, but I think the better candidate won in both cases. How well they meet the challenges ahead of them remains to be seen.


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350 Words or Less: Two Elections & No Vote

This week there will be two important elections taking place that I am watching with interest, though I have no vote in either of them.

Tuesday, November 3. The US elections. Donald Trump for another term or Joe Biden as President?

A few weeks before the 2016 election I wrote this in a blog post :

“I have no vote, but I follow the election, not only out of a general interest but also because I have relatives who live in the US and because what happens in the US impacts the rest of the world.”

The same is true today, a few days before the 2020 election. Trump’s presidency has been diasatrous in many ways and the impact of a second term is difficult to contemplate. His mishandling of the Covid-19 pandemic in the US certainly sits squarely in the front row of issues for consideration. There is the possibility that the result of the election may not be known on Tuesday night and the question arises of what actions Trump may take if he loses but doesn’t want to accept that result.

I’ll be up that night and watching.

And then on Saturday, November 7, the internal election for the new President of the PNP will take place. Golding or Hanna? Not an election that has widespread global attention. But the outcome will matter in Jamaica, because the winner will not only be the President of the party but will also be the Leader of the Opposition. The people who vote in this election are the delegates in the PNP, a few thousand people.

I think that Mark Golding would be the better choice for Opposition Leader at this point but, as with the US election, I have no vote.

Two elections. No vote. Just waiting to see.


They Say a Week is a Long Time in Politics…Jamaica, February 25 – March 3, 2016

Thursday, February 25 – Election Day

Polls opened at 7:00am. Party leaders Portia Simpson Miller and Andrew Holness were among the more than 870,000 voters who went to polling stations to cast their ballots on Election Day.

Observer photo - Portia votes - 25-2-16holness votes 25-2-16                                     (Photo credits: Jamaica Observer & Reuters/Gilbert Bellamy)

I was one of many who posted photos of their inked fingers online.

election tweet inked finger 25-2-16

After the polls closed at 5:00pm, the counting began, as did the monitoring and discussions on radio, television and social media. And later that night, the Preliminary Count by the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) showed that the JLP had  won the election with 33 seats, to the PNP’s 30.

ECJ 10-26

Mr Holness gave his victory speech & PM Simpson Miller gave her concession speech.

 

election holness psm 3election - psm concession speech 25-2-16

Among those celebrating at JLP Headquarters on Belmont Road was former PM & JLP leader Edward Seaga.

election 2016 Seaga party HQ 25-2-16

Friday, February 26

Final counting for all constituencies across the island commenced, with counting taking place in the designated counting centres in each constituency except for five – St Andrew Eastern, St Ann South Western, St Mary South Eastern and St Catherine North Eastern which were being counted at the Head Office at Duke Street Kingston; and St James Southern which was being counted at the Regional Office in Montego Bay.

 

ecj prelim chart with turnout 26-2-16

Figures released based on the Preliminary Count indicated that the % voter turnout was the lowest for a General Election in Jamaica’s electoral history. (Except for 1983, when the PNP didn’t contest the election.)

Saturday, February 27

Following the Final Count for the St Mary South Eastern constituency, the PNP’s Winston Green was declared the winner, instead of the JLP’s Norman Dunn, who had been declared the winner on the night of the election. This meant that the result of the election stood at JLP: 32 and PNP: 31. Tensions heightened as, with the Final Count still going on in many constituencies, another seat changing from the JLP to the PNP would change the overall result of the election.

gleaner green wins by 9 votes 27-2-16

 

Sunday, February 28

Rumours and speculation increased. At one point in the day, a rumour spread that the JLP had lost another seat during the recount, but this was not so. PM Simpson Miller and Dr Horace Chang both issued statements amid the increasing tension.

Gleaner PSM urges calm - 28-2-16Gleaner Chang urges calm 28-2-16

Director of Elections, Orrette Fisher made the decision to move another constituency recount to the Head Office in Kingston, and this was done with the security forces escorting the ballot boxes from St Thomas to Kingston.

gleaner tweet election st thomas western 28-2-16

Monday, February 29

ecj 29-2-16 2

Dorothy Pine-McLarty, ECJ Chairman (right); Orrette Fisher, Director of Elections (2nd right)

The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) held a press conference to give an update on the Final Count of votes. They informed the country that the Final Count of votes had been completed in 62 of the 63 constituencies. The Final Count for the constituency of St. Thomas Western was being continued at their office at Duke Street and was subsequently completed later that day. Press conference statement

Tuesday, March 1

The ECJ confirmed the Final Count and the outcome of the election, and indicated that the results would be sent to the Governor General. The results represented the narrowest majority in seat count for a General Election in Jamaica.

eoj FB final count march 1 2016

Wednesday, March 2

The official announcement came that the swearing-in of Andrew Holness as Prime Minister would take place the following day.

opm swearing in announcement 2-3-16

Thursday, March 3

The Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen , presided over the ceremony held at King’s House, at which Andrew Holness took the Oath of Allegiance and the Oath of Office and became  Prime Minister of Jamaica. PM Holness then delivered his inaugural address.

holness takes oath 3-3-16 2

The ceremony was attended by outgoing Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, and the three other living former Prime Ministers – Bruce Golding, P.J. Patterson & Edward Seaga.

There were a number of musical items during the ceremony, but perhaps the highlight was the performance by Nesbeth, who sang his song My Dream, which had been used by the JLP during the campaign. The new PM joined him in singing.nesbeth holness tweet 3-3-16

As they say, a week is a long time in politics….