Martin Baxter & Shanica Blair, Gleaner Writers
Just hours before polling stations were scheduled to open for Jamaica's 16th general election, all was quiet on the streets of St Andrew.
The Gleaner visited St Andrew West Central and St Andrew South West - the constituencies of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Leader Andrew Holness and People's National Party (PNP) President Portia Simpson Miller, respectively.
With the exception of green and orange flags, which fluttered in the wind atop light posts, there were few signs that it was the eve of a general election.
"Well, right now, the mood is neutral you know, both PNP and Labourite a mix, so we love that cah we seh fi break down garrison politics so we haffi start it yah so," said a 33-year-old man who identified himself only as 'Showa Reds' from Tower Hill, a district in Holness' constituency. The JLP leader and prime minister will be up against the PNP's Patrick Roberts.
"As you can see, see wi Comrade dem side a we. No war, violence-free, and we wish it continue straight. We and Marl Road next door neighbour; Patrick Roberts greatest supporters, we are friends same way, we go out drink, eat, sit down, party, talk, everybody have a freedom fi express demself. We wish for the 63 constituencies to just continue as dat right throughout."
Dressed in a green shirt bearing the Holness' image and wearing a matching cap, 50-year-old John Atkins, also from Tower Hill, said election day would mark the start of his Christmas celebrations.
"It's the best Christmas ever, from long time ever, seen. More money run, both sides have to run a lot of money, so it's the best Christmas ever for a long time," he told The Gleaner, speaking outside a shop on Olympic Way.
A short drive across town and The Gleaner was on Maxfield Avenue in the St Andrew South West constituency being contested by Simpson Miller, the JLP's Victor Hyde and Ann-Marie Thomas of the National Democratic Movement.
Standing among a group of JLP supporters was a 47-year-old man, who identified himself only as Derek.
"I'm excited, PNP straight. Vote out the green man dem, straight PNP, very excited about it," he told The Gleaner.
"I'm voting early, very early; mi a di first one weh reach di polling station, mi a di first one, mi a help dem open the gate," he said to the amusement of his friend, Orville Ming.
Standing beside a fruit and vegetable stall, the 56-year-old Ming said the streets were quiet now but it was because everyone was resting for tomorrow.
"Feel very good, and we're going to vote for Portia and we're going to get out the Labourites, so if you is one, you have fi go out the," he said, jokingly pointing at the Gleaner news team.
Log on to www.jamaica-gleaner.com/videos for related feature.