Wed | Oct 18, 2017

Job well done

Published:Saturday | February 27, 2016 | 12:03 AMLivern Barrett
Clifford Blake
Orrette Fisher
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A member of the police high command has welcomed the tributes being showered on the security forces for a largely incident-free election day, and had high praises for what he described as the mature way Jamaicans went out and cast their ballots.

For Deputy Commissioner Clifford Blake, the accolades for both the police and the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), especially from the two main political parties, are well deserved.

Blake, who has responsibility for the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) operations portfolio, said the order experienced by the more than 868,000 persons who turned out to cast their ballots was the culmination of careful planning between the police, the JDF and other stakeholders.

"I think we had a very good [election] day. It shows what can be achieved when you plan carefully as well as when you plan and execute together as a team," he said.

While acknowledging that there were reports of minor skirmishes including voter intimidation, Blake revealed that the police had no major incidents to deal with.

Without singling out the security forces, Director of Elections Orrette Fisher indicated that he was pleased with the way the election was conducted.

"We worked with the security forces, political party representatives, observers and other stakeholders to address, in a swift manner, reports of incidents which arose. But in general we can say the proceedings went smoothly," Fisher said late yesterday.

Prime Minister-designate Andrew Holness, during his acceptance speech on Thursday after it became clear that his JLP had defeated the People's National Party (PNP), praised members of the security forces for their conduct on election day.

PNP president Portia Simpson Miller also had high praises for the men and women of the JDF and the JCF and security forces during her concession speech at the party's St Andrew headquarters and urged PNP supporters to "big dem up."

JDF Civil-Military Cooperation Officer Major Basil Jarrett said it was good that the work and worth of the security forces are being recognised "because a lot of the time the work that we do goes unrecognised or unappreciated."

"We've made a lot about the fact that elections are now free and fair and safe, but a lot of time people don't stop and think about the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make elections free and fair," Jarrett asserted.

"So you come, you vote and you go home... you see the soldiers who are lining the perimeter walls of the polling stations, but what you don't see is the planning and preparations going on in the background to make that happen," he added.

Informed of the commendations from the two main political parties, DCP Blake was philosophical.

"In life, whenever there is good performance it is usually recognised and praised and if the performance is not good then it is usually criticised. We came out good this time and we are deserving of the recognition," he told The Gleaner.

But while basking in the recognition, Blake said members of the public should also be commended for the way they conducted themselves on election day.

"It was their mature conduct and behaviour that contributed to the peace we witnessed yesterday [Thursday]" he underscored.