KINGSTON, Jamaica, Feb 26, (CMC) – A Caribbean Community (CARICOM) team that observed the general elections here, yesterday, said, that voters had been able to “cast ballots without intimidation” and that the results reflected “the will of the people of Jamaica”.
“Adequate security was in place at all locations with the officers displaying a very professional approach, which contributed to the level of calm which accompanied the day’s activities,” said Josephine Tamai, the Chief Elections Officer in Belize, who headed the 11-member CARICOM Election Observation Mission (CEOM).
She told reporters, that “throughout the day, the poll workers remained resolute and steadily carried out the required procedures, ensuring that electors who turned out were able to register their vote.
“The mission’s general assessment of the day’s activities is that the voters were able to cast their ballots without intimidation or harassment, and that the results of the general election of 25 February reflected the will of the people of Jamaica and reinforced their commitment to the democratic process.”
The CARICOM statement was in contrast to the statement issued by the Observer team from the Organization of American States (OAS) that said, it “took careful note of the incidents of violence which occurred prior to and on election day”.
“As we have said in other country reports, these acts of violence do not support the electoral process and have no place in a democracy,” said the head of the OAS electoral mission, Janet Botswick.
According to the preliminary results, the main opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won 33 of the 63 seats contested, with the remainder going to the People’s National Party (PNP) that was seeking to repeat the 2011 victory.
Tamai said, the full report will be submitted to CARICOM Secretary General, Irwin LaRocque, and would include the findings of the mission and its recommendations and “suggestions for continued strengthening of the electoral process in Jamaica”.