Archive for the ‘South East St. Elizabeth’ Category

Smooth sailing in South East St. Elizabeth

Monday, September 3rd, 2007

Voting got off to a smooth start at the B. B. Coke High School in Junction, South East St. Elizabeth with persons arriving at the polling stations as early as 6 a.m.A contingent of Jamaica Defense Force (JDF) soldiers are manning the crowd and have been able to keep voters in an orderly fashion.

The South East St. Elizabeth constituency have been rocked by recent incidents of gun violence. Most recently the driver of National Democratic Movement (NDM) candidate, Conrad Powell, was shot an injured allegedly by People’s National Party (PNP) supporters, on Saturday night.

Last Friday morning gunmen broke into the home of Jeremy Palmer, the former local Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament MP for the area, and fired shots at him before stealing a laptop and a briefcase containing campaign documents and cellular phones.

In a separate incident that morning, Mr. Powell’s driver was held up at gunpoint and robbed of his jewelery, cash and a motorcycle while posting campaign flyers in Munroe.

Second Lieutenant Taofeek Olakunle, the JDF ground commander at the B.B. Coke High School, said he was expecting an incident-free day.

“We have been in the parish days ahead of the election and have taken up our positions early”, said Lt. Olakunle.

The JDF and members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have been carrying out overt and covert operations in the parish with special emphasis being placed on South East St. Elizabeth due to the upsurge in violence.

Meanwhile former local PNP Member of Parliament, Derek Rochester said that all the elections he had participated in over the years had seen acts of violence, making reference to the Top Hill incident in the 1980 election when two children were killed in clashes between rival supporters.

“It is regrettable that these incidents have happened but there are pockets of violence in the constituency. However we are looking forward to the day when we can put these behind us,” said Rochester, adding that persons from outside have been infiltrating the constituency which he said was contributing to the recent incidents.

23,000 persons are expected to vote in the constituency, which could see the JLP Franklyn Witter or the PNP’s Norman Horne going to Gordon House.