Peace pledge - Supporters embrace in unity but nomination day marred by violence
In constituencies across the island, Jamaicans came out in their numbers yesterday to show support for the 152 political candidates seeking to be elected to Parliament in just over two weeks.
In many constituencies, there were signs of unity, with supporters of the two major political parties the People's National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) embracing in friendship and declaring that there would be no conflict during the campaign period.
However, tensions came to a boil in constituencies like North Central Clarendon, where supporters of both political parties clashed and where missiles were thrown after both candidates turned up to be nominated at the same time.
In that incident, a joint police-military team intervened, and candidates Desmond Brennan of the PNP and the JLP’s Pearnel Charles both urged supporters to refrain from violence.
Barring those incidents, and another in which a JLP motorcade was shot up by gangsters in Flanker, St James, leaving one man dead, Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said that overall, the nomination process went smoothly.
The Electoral Office of Jamaica will now turn to processing the nomination information and completing preparations for the February 25 general election.
In addition to the two major political parties the ruling PNP and the opposition JLP four other parties fielded candidates, and several independents also threw their hat into races for seats in the upcoming polls.
The PNP and JLP both had 63 candidates each.
The National Democratic Movement put forward seven candidates; the Marcus Garvey People’s Political Party nominated six candidates; the People’s Progressive Party presented two nominees; HOPE had one candidate; and there were 10 independents.
Of the 152 candidates, 126 were male and 26 female.
Fisher said that members of the security forces are scheduled to vote on February 22, three days ahead of the rest of the electorate.