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#LocalGovtElection: 'I have voted in every election since 1961'

Published:Monday | November 28, 2016 | 11:41 AM
Cecil Shettlewood

Jovan Johnson, Staff Reporter

Cecil Shettlewood has voted in every election in Jamaica since 1961, a right he said is "very dear" to him.

It's why, after casting his ballot at the Pembroke Hall High School this morning, he said those who stay away are not respecting those who fought to secure the right.

"Those who don't vote don't mean the country any good," the 76-year-old told The Gleaner.

He added: "Is mi right. I don't mean mi country nothing if I don't vote. Mi wouldn't have a say."

For 81-year-old Hortense Douglas, the right to vote is also too important to stay away from the elections.

"Pick you choice," she said, waving her inked finger after voting at the Pembroke Hall Community Centre.

Hortense and Douglas voted in the Hughenden Division in St Andrew North Western.

Polls opened on time at seven o'clock and Electoral Office of Jamaica officials said voting had been going "smoothly".

Not many Jamaicans share the senior citizens' fervour, though, as low voter turnout has been an enduring feature of local government elections.

The turnout in the last election in March 2012 was 35 per cent, with analysts expecting little improvement this time around.

Andrew Harris of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is running against the People's National Party's Ian Telfer.

Telfer, the incumbent, won the division in 2012, ousting Audley Gordon, who won the two previous local polls.

In February's general elections, however, the JLP won the division by a margin of 397.

It's a similar margin, the party's cluster manager at the community centre, Novelette Howell, said she expects Harris to win by this evening.

"We have done the canvassing and we are very confident. Telfer has done nothing and is not visible," she said.

Marguerita Leith-Allen, the PNP's equivalent, said Telfer has improved roads and helped youth gaining employment.

"Telfer is gonna pull through. He has worked a lot with the communities – Hughenden, Marverly, Pembroke Hall. He might not have been out there where him go everybody's yard. But he's always out there," she told The Gleaner.

* Hughenden Division in the Kingston & St Andrew Corporation
* Andrew Harris, JLP
* Ian Telfer, PNP (Incumbent)