Portia Faces Failure – Cries Foul; while Bruce Golding and Jamaica Labor Party Celebrate

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portia and pnp colours.jpgjlp supporters and former prime minister edward seaga.jpg
Following heavy criticism on her Hurricane Dean response and a perceived lame contribution to the national debate , 61 year old Portia Simpson Miller, Jamaica’s first female Prime Minister was ousted on Monday September 3rd and her People’s National Party (PNP) ended its 20 years in power.

Whether In denial or just harboring wishful thinking, Simpson Miller, known also as "Sista P," and "Mama P," reportedly refused to concede with the numbers remaining unconvinced that preliminary results are indicative of the final reality of the Jamaica Labor Party being the newly elected leaders of Jamaica’s Government.

Widely touted as the luckiest politician around, Bruce Golding led the JLP, to a razor thin margin of a win that saw his party gobble up just 31 of the 60 seats in the House of Representatives. However, former Prime Minister, Simpson Miller has complained of irregularities and said there were races that could change current results with a recount.

portisa again.jpgThese were extremely close calls, but until the final count is in, the results will remain with JLP on top. According to international observer electoral teams, the elections were, "free, fair and credible."

Voters gathered in front of the various polling stations across Jamaica yesterday – with many of them clad in the party colors of either green for JLP or orange for PNP. Those clearly identifying their political preference made extra effort to stay away from each other.

With final count beginning this morning, Jamaica's Electoral Commission says it typically takes two days for election officers to check all ballots in all 60 precincts. The plain speaking Simpson Miller, known well for her support of the poor, is continually crying foul despite reassurance reportedly given by Albert Ramdin, assistant secretary-general of the Organization of American States, who led the 40 member team of observers. Ramdin insists that the election can stand international scrutiny.

Alleging that candidates campaigned past the mandated cutoff point – and by doing so broke election rules, Simpson Miller claimed candidates were actually "buying votes." Feeling that a criminal element was in control of some of the voting process, the former Prime Minister reported that some party members were involuntarily prevented from voting.

In March, 2006 Simpson Miller was chosen by party delegates to replace retiring former Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson.
Golding, 58, has made many promises and Jamaican's are eager to see these issues brought to the forefront. Already discussion around the free education for all secondary students is buzzing amongst community members, anxious to see Golding walk his talk. Golding said, JLP intends to realize success by among other measures, streamlining government bureaucracy and attracting foreign investment.

The son of a former MP, Golding is no stranger to the political environment as he was only two years old when his dad was first elected to represent West St Catherine. Tacius Golding held that seat for 22 years until retiring in 1972.

Poised to implement policies and legislation that will ease the deep-rooted poverty, create jobs and reduce criminal activity in Jamaica, Golding and his jubilant supporters started their new journey on Monday night, driving through the streets of Kingston and other areas, honking horns and singing Bob Marley's "Coming In From The Cold," among other chants.

The tension of election time in Kingston city has eased, but the memory of the virtual ghost town that developed since the early afternoon of election day is indelible. There were rare episodes of violence reported when opposing party backers quarreled and fired shots at each other. Police and soldiers, who were in full force and swarming around everywhere, quickly squashed that incident and any other.

 

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