- Jamaicans will head to the polls tomorrow (Thursday, February 25), to determine the country’s next Government.
- This is the 17th general election since the introduction of Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944, extending voting rights to all adults, irrespective of race, sex or social class.
- A total of 152 candidates have been nominated to face the electorate.
Jamaicans will head to the polls tomorrow (Thursday, February 25), to determine the country’s next Government.
This is the 17th general election since the introduction of Universal Adult Suffrage in 1944, extending voting rights to all adults, irrespective of race, sex or social class.
A total of 152 candidates have been nominated to face the electorate – 63 from the People’s National Party (PNP); 63 from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP); 7 candidates from the National Democratic Movement (NDM); 9 from other parties; and 10 independent candidates.
Some 1.82 million Jamaicans are registered to vote. The figure is approximately 180,000 more than the 1.64 million who were registered to vote in the December 2011 general election, which was won by the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, President of the PNP.
Should the PNP find favour with the voters, it would be the second win for Mrs. Simpson Miller and her third time as Prime Minister. She served as the country’s first female Prime Minister from 2006 to 2007, when the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson retired.
Conversely, Mr. Andrew Holness could get his first electoral mandate from the people. He served as Prime Minister for two months from October to December 29, 2011, when Mr. Bruce Golding resigned. If successful, Mr. Holness, at 43, will be the youngest Prime Minister.
Polling stations across the country will open at 7:00 a.m. and are slated to close at 5:00 p.m., following which box-by-box counting begins at selected centres across the island.
Prior to Thursday, persons casting ballots are being encouraged to find out where they are to vote by visiting the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) website at http://www.eoj.com.jm/.
The electorate is further reminded to take along their voter identification cards to the polling stations.
On arrival at the polling station, Jamaicans are being encouraged to join the line and wait until it is their turn to vote.
Importantly, the use or display of cameras, cellular phones or any other image-capturing device is banned inside the polling station, and persons are being urged to turn off their cellular phones inside the polling stations.
In addition, voters must follow the instructions of the Presiding Officer in order for their ballot to be successfully marked and cast.
Nine Jamaicans have served as Prime Minister since 1962. They are Sir Alexander Bustamante (April 1962 to February 1967); Sir Donald Sangster (February 1967 to April 1967); the Most Hon. Hugh Shearer (April 1967 to February 1972); the Most Hon. Michael Manley (February 1972 to October 1980; and February 1989 to March 1992); the Most Hon. Edward Seaga (October 1980 to February 1989); the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson (March 1992 to March 2006); Mrs. Portia Simpson Miller (March 2006 to September 2007 and December 2011 to the present); Hon. Bruce Golding (September 2007 to October 2011); and Mr. Andrew Holness (October 2011 to December 2011).