Edmond Campbell, Staff Reporter
Despite the fury of Hurricane Dean, which left sections of the country devastated, Director of Elections, Danville Walker, says it's all systems go for a September 3 general election.
The date, the anniversary of the British declaration of war against Germany in 1939, was proposed by the Electoral Commission and confirmed in a proclamation issued yesterday by Governor-General Professor Kenneth Hall. The proclamation followed lengthy and reportedly tense Cabinet consideration.
Mr. Walker said election workers, the police and the military would go to the polls on Tuesday, August 28.
Polling will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
However, Mr. Walker said minor repairs were needed at some polling stations which were damaged during the passage of the hurricane.
The director of elections also said the election counting centres have electricity and telephone communication in place.
"We have had very favourable reports," said Walker, noting that if there were problems with electricity at any of the counting centres, the Electoral Office of Jamaica would use standby generators.
Prime Minister and president of the People's National Party, Portia Simpson Miller, had first announced the election would be held on August 27.
However, with the passage of Hurricane Dean, the date was revised to facilitate recovery efforts and the restoration of power to large sections of the country.
JLP leader Bruce Golding, while at a rally yesterday in Lucea, Hanover, urged supporters not to be complacent. He advised them to ensure that party supporters reach the polling stations on election day so the party could be victorious.
"We have won the advertising campaign. We have won the debates. But there is one more winning that we have to do," Golding said.
Jamaica's leading business organisations, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association (JMA) and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), have welcomed the official announcement of the election date.
JCC head Mark Myers said the country could now plan and move ahead.
"We are very happy that the date has been confirmed and it is relatively soon. As soon as we get past the election, we can move the country forward."
Omar Azan, president of the JMA, expressed similar sentiments.
"We can now get on with it, and may the best person win. Whoever is in power, business has to go on and we need to work together to move Jamaica forward."
The PSOJ said the announcement of the election date averted a major crisis that the country could ill afford.
Claudia Gardner contributed to this story.