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Battle not yet 'Dunn'! - JLP candidate could file election petition after losing by five votes

Published:Sunday | March 6, 2016 | 3:05 AMRyon Jones
Down but not out was the JLP's Dr Norman Dunn, as he tried to hide PNP's Dr Winston Green (right, partly hidden), after the recount of votes at the Sutton Street Resident Magistrates's Court in downtown Kingston yesterday.
Winston Green (right), PNP candidate in a light conversation with Norman Dunn of the JLP after the recount at the Sutton Street court yesterday. Green won by five votes.
Winston Green
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The Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dr Norman Dunn could be headed to the Supreme Court as he continues his battle to wrest St Mary South East from the People's National Party's (PNP) Dr Winston Green.

The PNP's standard-bearer crossed another hurdle yesterday in his quest to retain the seat, after he was declared the winner by five votes following a magisterial recount at the Sutton Street Resident Magistrate's Court.

But despite the RM's ruling, it appears that Dunn will not go quietly and Green might not have seen the last of him.

"We have some concerns that we are going to look into. Just to say that I don't think it is finished yet," said Dunn minutes after the announcement was made yesterday.

"We will see the next step, because I believe there is another step and at that time we will speak again," added Dunn.

But while he was guarded, one of the lawyers representing the JLP, Alexander Williams, was more forthcoming with the issues they found with the recounting and why the matter might be the subject of an election petition.

"There are three ballots that have not been accounted for in this process. The magistrate, having gone through the recount, has been unable to locate three of the ballots," said Williams.

"Now the margin of victory is five and three ballots have not been accounted for after checking through all the books and counting and recounting. In addition to that there are some ballots which the magistrate rejected, which we feel that she improperly rejected, in our respectful submission, which would have gone in favour of Mr Dunn.

"So we are going to be reviewing everything and advise ourselves as to whether or not we take the next step, which would be an election petition," added Williams.

K.D. Knight, who was one of the lawyers representing the PNP, said he, too, had issues with some of the magistrate's decisions, but believes an election petition will only work in Green's favour.

"I didn't agree with some of her (magistrate) ruling that went in favour of the Jamaica Labour Party and against us, but on balance I don't think the rulings, taken accumulatively, that we disagreed with would have affected the result," Knight told The Sunday Gleaner.

"My opinion is that on an election petition the likelihood is that Dr Green's margin would increase."

Green said he is "prepared" for any challenge that might come, but in the meantime is delighted for the victory.

The governing JLP would have been hoping for a victory in this seat, which would have given it a little more breathing space in the Lower House, but will have to make do with a 32 majority to the PNP's 31.