Current Affairs

Current Affairs




5 recounts by RMs this week

By Lloyd Williams, Senior Associate Editor
Jamaica Gleaner
Monday, October 28, 2002


MAGISTERIAL RECOUNTS are to take place this week in five constituencies arising from the closeness of results in the October 16 general election, and complaints of electoral irregularities.

One has been sought by the ruling People's National Party, which won 34 of the 60 seats in the House of Representatives, and four are at the request of the opposition Jamaica Labour Party, which won the remaining 26 seats.

The constituencies are St. Elizabeth South Eastern, St. Eliza-beth South Western, Manchester Central, St. Andrew South Eastern and St. Ann North Western.

In St. Elizabeth South Eastern, where the PNP's Lenworth Blake, a 50-year-old businessman, defeated by 82 votes, his 43-year-old cousin, Franklyn Witter, also a businessman and the JLP candidate, the JLP is seeking a recount by the Resident Magistrate for the parish.

Mr. Blake polled 7,507 votes, Mr. Witter, 7,425, and Earl Powell, businessman and accountant, the NDM-NJA candidate, 30.

However, 312 ballots were rejected and Mr. Witter is seeking to overturn the result of the Returning Officer's final count by having most of these 312 ballots declared valid votes for him. Of the 21,495 registered electors, 15,274 voted, a turnout of 71.1 per cent. The national average was 57.08 per cent. Mr. Blake received 49.1 per cent of the votes and Mr. Witter, 48.6 per cent.

The recount by Resident Magistrate Mrs. Marlene Malahoo-Forte will begin today in the Black River Resident Magistrate's Court.

In St. Ann North Western, which was won by the JLP's Verna Parchment, a 38-year-old nurse, the PNP candidate, Arnold Bertram, 58, historian, teacher, journalist and former Minister of Local Government and Comm-unity Development, is seeking a recount. At the preliminary count he defeated her by 26 votes but at the final count she won by 167 votes, polling 7,534 to his 7,367.

The Resident Magistrate for St. Ann will conduct this recount.

In the other cases the recounts are being sought on the basis that there were irregularities in the conduct of the election in those constituencies, but the irregularities can be brought to light only when the ballots and the other election documents are examined in the recounts.

The JLP is seeking a magisterial recount also in St. Elizabeth South Western where its candidate, Derrick Sangster, 56, farmer, lost by 190 votes to Donald Buchanan, 59, trade unionist and Minister of Water of Housing. Mr. Buchanan received 7,690 votes to 7,573 for Mr. Sangster. A total of 42 votes were rejected. A total of 15,305 of the 21,495 electors voted, a turnout of 71.6 per cent. This recount is scheduled to follow that in St. Elizabeth South Eastern.

In St. Andrew South Eastern where the PNP's Maxine Henry-Wilson, 50, university lecturer, and the new Minister of Education, Youth and Culture, won, the JLP's Phillip Henriques, 39, company director, is seeking a magisterial recount. She defeated him by 858 votes, polling 4,959 to his 4,100. A total of 9,323 of the 18,325 electors voted, a turnout of 50.9 per cent.

This recount is to take place in the Corporate Area RM Court at Half-way Tree.

In Manchester Central the JLP's candidate, Norman Horne, 40, businessman, is seeking a recount. He was defeated by John Junor, 55, attorney-at-law and Minister of Health, who got a majority of 1,122 votes.

Mr. Junor polled 8,307 votes to 7,185 for Mr. Horne.

This recount by the Resident Magistrate for Manchester, is to take place in the Mandeville RM Court.

Sources said the JLP plans to challenge some other election results by way of election petitions.