#ByElections2017: Voter turnout up to 52 per cent in St Mary South East (Timeline)
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has won the St Mary South East constituency in the keenly contested by-election.
The JLP's Dr Norman Dunn polled 8,176 votes to the 7,239, recceived by the PNP's Dr Shane Alexis.
Here's how things have been unfolding in today's by-elections:
The JLP's Dr Norman Dunn declared the winner of St Mary South East by-election over the PNP's Dr Shane Alexis. Dunn first ran against the late Dr Winston Green in 2016 and lost by five votes. Green died in August resulting in the need for a by-election.
JLP and PNP handlers battle persistent rains to get supporters to vote in St Mary South East before the polls close at 5 p.m. "We got out about 90 per cent of PNP votes at Annotto Bay Centre," said Cammaleta Harrison, general secretary of PNP Youth Organisation. However, JLP is also exuding confidence.
The Electoral Office of Jamaica releases updated figures showing a high voter turnout in St Mary South East. At 3 o'clock some 52.3 per cent of voters had cast their ballots; in St Andrew South Western, 21.7 per cent; and in St Andrew Southern, 25.5 per cent.
PNP president Dr Peter Phillips is mobbed by party supporters as he arrives in Richmond, St Mary South East. Traffic congestion has been the order of the day in this part of the constituency despite the efforts of the police keep the traffic flowing. Supporters of both parties have been engaging in heated exchanges.
Twenty-eight-year-old Dane Dennis, the JLP candidate for St Andrew South casts his ballot at the Boys Town HEART Academy. He later said St Andrew South is not a safe seat for the PNP as its representatation over the years has left much to be desired.
At the Belfield Line Basic School, one the more remote centres, voter has been consistent at Polling Divisions 61 and 62. Around 33 per cent of the voters have turned out so far.
Electoral Office of Jamaica reports that the all-island voter turnout is 17.35 per cent. In St Andrew South, the turn out is 11.76; St Andrew South West - 11.75; and St Mary South East - 28.25 per cent.
The returning officer at Scotts Hall Primary School in St Mary South East seeks to speed up voting. He appeals to voters to have their ID cards in hand as they approach the voting booths.
JLP candidate for St Andrew South West Victor Hyde arrives at the Whitfield All Age school to cast his vote. He greets People’s National Party supporters as he makes his way to the voting centre.
Former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller arrives at the Whitfield All Age School in her former St Andrew South West constituency to cast her vote for her likely successor Angela Brown Burke of the PNP. Simpson Miller labelled the challenge by Victor Hyde a joke. "Does he exist?" Simpson-Miller asked.
JLP chairman Robert Montague tells The Gleaner that the PNP with busloads of out-of-town supporters descending on St Mary South East has been breaching the political code of conduct at every cluster. “Here in South East St Mary, the citizens are offended by this overwhelming show and the intimidation and the shouting, so you find that it is actually helping the JLP,” he said. "We’re encouraging them to continue their raucous behaviour and we’re not used to it in South East St Mary.” Montague said the JLP will win by a canter.
Polls open for today’s by-election in three constituencies — St Mary South East, St Andrew South West, St Andrew South. The PNP is expected to retain the two corporate area seats. However, the battle is on in St Mary South East, where two-timer, Dr Norman Dunn (JLP) is being challenged by newcomer, Dr Shane Alexis (PNP).
St Andrew South
Mark Golding (PNP)
Dane Dennis (JLP
St Andrew South West
Angela Brown Burke (PNP)
Victor Hyde (JLP)
St Mary South East
Dr Shane Alexis (PNP)
Dr Norman Dunn (JLP)