Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Clarendon North Western returning officer retires

Published:Wednesday | October 7, 2020 | 12:14 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Glasspole Brown, director of elections.
Glasspole Brown, director of elections.

The returning who was at the centre of a ballot controversy in Clarendon North Western has gone into retirement.

The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) lists Cecil Peters as the returning officer for the constituency.

Director of Elections Glasspole Brown told The Gleaner on Sunday that the returning officer went on retirement at the end of last month following the general election which was held on September 3.

An advertisement was placed in The Sunday Gleaner by the EOJ inviting applications to fill the post.

“He tendered his request to retire at the end of September so we are moving to find a replacement. He has not resigned, he has retired. He has served us for quite a while,” Brown told The Gleaner in response to development.

Concerns had been raised over the returning officer’s account of 1,107 rejected ballots from the September 3 election in Clarendon North Western.

The official count of votes had seen the Jamaica Labour Party’s Phillip Henriques coming out on top with 5,630 votes to defeat People’s National Party (PNP) incumbent Richard Azan by 83 votes. Azan had polled 5,547 votes, with independent candidate Merrick Cohen getting 51.

Red flags were raised about the high number of rejected ballots, with Brown admitting that the situation was highly unusual.

After judicial recount, Henriques polled 6,075 votes to the PNP Richard Azan’s 5,936.

A total of 831 rejected ballots were validated at the end of the judicial recount.

In the meantime, the statistics and final vote count for the September 3 polls are to be published this week, Brown also disclosed to The Gleaner.

The director said the final tally of spending done by the EOJ is still not ready, as there were still some workers to be paid.

“It is not yet ready. We are going to wait until we finished paying everybody. We are going to pay the election day workers close to the middle of the month, and until we complete all the payments, we don’t want to replace any figures as yet,” Brown said.

Some $2.4 billion had been set aside in the 2020-21 Budget for both the general and local government elections.

The deadline for candidates who contested the September 3 general election to submit their expense report is October 15.