Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PNP to seek magisterial recount in North West St Ann
Wants election voided in West Central St Andrew
BYRON BUCKLEY, Senior political reporter
Wednesday, October 23, 2002



BERTRAM... lost North West St Ann seat after recount

THE ruling People's National Party (PNP) said yesterday that it would be calling for a magisterial recount of the general elections result in at least one seat, and would also be seeking to have the election voided in another.

"We intend to file a magisterial recount for North West St Ann," PNP general secretary Maxine Henry-Wilson told the Observer yesterday.

WILSON... we, of course, will be appearing strongly at any magisterial recount that the JLP will be pursuing

The party said it would also be seeking to have the results in West Central St Andrew voided. The Jamaica Labour Party's Andrew Holness retained that seat, defeating the PNP's Patrick Roberts.

Arnold Bertram, the outgoing minister of local government, lost the North West St Ann seat in the 60-member House of Representatives at the end of the official recount Monday of the votes cast in last Wednesday's general elections, to Verna Parchment of the JLP.

HOLNESS... retained West Central St Andrew seat for JLP

Parchment was declared the winner with 169 more votes than Bertram, who was first declared the winner by a margin of 26 votes during the preliminary count at the end of polling. The votes now stand at Parchment 7,507 and Bertram 7,338.

A magisterial recount entails the recounting of the ballots by a resident magistrate in open court.

"This exercise will essentially be aimed at accounting for rejected ballots," according to Neville Graham, information officer at the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ). Presiding officers, he said, generally reject a ballot when it is not clear which candidate the elector has selected.

He said Bertram has four days starting from Monday to file affidavits, that is, written statements confirmed by oath, with the magistrate.

"We, of course will be appearing strongly at any magisterial recount that the JLP will be pursuing," added Henry-Wilson.

Meanwhile, an official of the JLP said yesterday that the party had not yet decided on a specific response to election outcomes in several other constituencies where the margin of defeat was under 300 votes.

The party, the spokesman said, was expected to arrive at a definitive position following a meeting of the party's executive last night.

Meantime, Henry-Wilson said the PNP was now collecting affidavits detailing voting irregularities in the West Central St Andrew constituency to be presented to the Constituted Authority, which has the power to void the outcome of an election and order a re-run.

The PNP said it had a good chance of achieving a re-run of the election in West Central St Andrew, based on a report by the Carter Centre, whose election monitors reportedly witnessed incidence of multiple voting in this constituency.

The EOJ had to twice re-run the 1997 general election in West Central St Andrew due to voting irregularities. The seat was initially awarded to the PNP's Warren Blake, but it was eventually won by Holness.

The Constituted Authority is comprised of the three independent members of the Electoral Advisory Committee -- Professor Errol Miller, Dorothy Pine-McLarty and Dr Herbert Thompson. They are accompanied by Justice Rance Langrin and Dennis Lalor, a member of the governor-general's Privy Council.