Current Affairs

Current Affairs



PNP favoured in close race
By Anthony Myers,


THE UPCOMING general election in this constituency will be extremely close but the swing of the pendulum favours a victory for the PNP.

In 1959, as a result of an advancement in the constitution, 45 constituencies were provided for Jamaica, an increase of 13 constituencies over the 32 which had been fixed from 1944. The parish of St. Ann got two additional constituencies. The boundaries were re-drawn (realigned) and new constituencies were created, namely: St. Ann North Western, St. Ann North Eastern, St. Ann South Eastern, and St. Ann South Western.

The constituency of St. Ann North Western is bounded by the following:

From a point where the Little Laughlands River enters the sea at Little Laughlands Bay, westerly along the sea coast to the Rio Bueno River, southerly along this river (which is the St. Ann/ Trelawny boundary) to a point north of Stewart Town. From this point, it goes in a straight imaginary line, southerly along the St. Ann/Trelawny parish boundary to the southern boundary of Industry Pen, along this boundary to the Gibraltar/Watt Town main road, easterly along this main road to its junction with the Brown's Town/ Alexandria main road, then easterly along Brown's Town/ Alexan-dria main road to the southern boundary of Endeavour. It then goes easterly along this boundary to a bridle track, then southerly along this bridle track to a parochial road then along this parochial road and across Mason Ground to where it meets Carriage Road No. 133. From there, it goes southerly along this carriage road to the Heartease Road, along the Heartease Road to the southern boundary of French Land, easterly along this boundary to where it meets a Parochial Road coming from Woodstock, along this parochial road to Tawes Road.

From there it goes northerly along Tawes Road to the Great Interior Road, westerly along the Great Interior Road to its junction with the road leading to King Hill, then along this road to the road leading to Mill Town, and along this road through Mill Town to Dry Market.

From this point, it goes in an imaginary line to the western boundary of Cheppenham then northerly along the northern side of the Great Interior Road to Parochial Road No. 392, along this parochial road to its end, from this point in an imaginary line to Parochial Road No. 43 at Chester, then along this parochial road to where it meets the Little Laugh-lands River on the St. Ann's Bay/Runaway Bay main road, then northerly along this river to the starting point.


Of the nine contested Parliamentary General Elections (1959-1997) in St. Ann North Western, the PNP were successful eight times to one for the JLP. In 1959, L.A. Wedderburn (PNP) polled 7,490 votes to defeat by the most convincing majority of 4,937, Alexander Smith (JLP), who polled 2,553. Elon B. Wilson, who represented the PNP in 1962, 1967 and 1972, proved to be the most successful candidate, winning on all three occasions. His victory over William R. Case in 1962 was his most impressive, as he polled 5,665 votes to Mr. Case's 2,657, a majority of 3,008. In retaining the seat for the PNP in 1967, his margin of victory was considerably reduced as he polled 4,208 votes to defeat Frank B. Ricketts (JLP), who pulled in 3,244, a majority of 964.

In 1972, Elon Burnham Wilson comfortably sent the JLP's Hector Wynter into retirement from his foray into representational politics by polling 5,405 votes to Mr. Wynter's 3,335, a majority 2,070. Elon Wilson was to hang up his gloves after three successful consecutive terms.

In 1976, Arnold Bertram (PNP), by polling 7,138 votes defeated Princess Lawes (JLP), who polled 4,799 votes, 2,339 fewer than Bertram. In 1980, Princess Lawes turned the tables as she polled 8,443 votes to Bertram's 5,121, a majority of 3,222. Seventeen years later, Bertram was back in the political arena replacing Burchell Whiteman, who did not seek re-election in spite of his having won North Western St. Ann constituency in 1989 and 1993. His opponent Ernest A. Smith, who lost to Burchell Whiteman by 1,045 votes and again in 1993 by a mere 281, was expected to prove competitive, but this was not to be.

With the 1997 voters' list increasing by 4,942 electors (28.6%) over the 1993 list, Arnold Bertram polled 8,232 votes to Ernest Smith's 6,632, a comfortable majority of 1,600. The NDM candidate T. Godfrey Waugh polled a mere 245 votes.

St. Ann North Western is one of 22 marginal/border line constituencies both the JLP and PNP will be battling tooth-and-nail to win in order to have the right to select a Speaker for the Lower House of Parliament. With no significant increase in the current voters' list (approximately 3.4% over 1997), the up-coming contest will be extremely close. The swing of the pendulum favours a PNP victory but only just.

Anthony Myers is a statistician and political analyst who has done work for the Electoral Office of Jamaica and for the People's National Party.

- PROJECT 2002

Electors on list 22,953

Accepted Ballots 15,556 (67.80%)

PNP 7,927 (50.96%)

JLP 7,629 (40.04%)


Majority (PNP) 298




E/L: Electors on List

B/C: Ballots Cast

A/B: Accepted Ballots

R/B: Rejected Ballots




E/L 15,299

B/C 10,173

A/B 10,043

R/B 130


Alexander R. Smith, JLP 2,553

L.A Wedderburn, PNP 7,490



E/L 13,886

B/C 9,035

A/B 8,989

R/B 46

William R. Case,

JLP 2,657

Livingston A. Wedderburn,

IND 667

Elon B. Wilson, PNP 5,665



E/L 10,137

B/C 8,056

A/B 7,452

R/B 604

Frank B. Ricketts, JLP 3,244

Elon B. Wilson, PNP 4,208



E/L 10,907

B/C 8,788

A/B 8,740

R/B 48

Elon B. Wilson, PNP 5,405

Hector Wynter, JLP 3,335



E/L 14,343

B/C 12,010

A/B 11,937

R/B 73

Arnold Bertram, PNP 7,138

Princess Lawes, JLP 4,799



E/L 15,782

B/C 13,632

A/B 13,564

R/B 68

Arnold Bertram, PNP 5,121

Princess Lawes, JLP 8,443



E/L 15,782

Princess Lawes - elected

unopposed by acclamation.



E/L 18,737

B/C 14,392

A/B 14,323

R/B 69

Ernest A. Smith, JLP 6,639

Burchell Whiteman, PNP 7,684



E/L 17,268

B/C 11,218

A/B 11,143

R/B 75

Ernest A. Smith, JLP 5,431

Burchell Whiteman, PNP 5,712



E/L 22,210

B/C 15,173 (68.3%)

A/B 15,109 (99.6%)

R/B 64 (0.4%)

Arnold Bertram,

PNP 8,232 (54.5%)

Ernest A. Smith,

JLP 6,632 (43.9%)

Geoffrey Waugh,

NDM 245 (1.6%)