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is here - PNP and JLP confident of victory at Local Gov't polls
President, Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, and Opposition JLP
Leader Edward Seaga (in photo at right) during last-minute campaigns
for today's Local Government elections.
BOTH THE ruling People's National Party (PNP) in control
of 169 of the 226 Parish Council divisions islandwide and the
Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), the remaining 58 divisions
have expressed confidence going into today's Local Government
JLP is trying to halt the PNP's string of seven consecutive
electoral victories dating back to 1989 and the PNP is trying
to keep Prime Minister P.J. Patterson's unbeaten record in
elections intact. The parties, according to senior officials,
have left nothing to chance.
spent most of the day in the parishes of Portland and St.
Mary and I must say that we are as ready as we can possibly
be," said an upbeat Maxine Henry-Wilson, PNP general
secretary. "As a matter of fact, I think we are even
better organised than we were in last year's General Election."
what sort of turnout she expected, Mrs. Henry-Wilson said
she has seen nothing to indicate that the numbers will be
anything spectacular. "Nothing has been said or done
that would motivate people to flock to the polls at
least I haven't seen it," she said. "As is customary
for Parish Council elections, I expect the turnout to be either
moderate or low."
Baugh, her JLP counterpart, was equally upbeat. "Everything
is in place... the deputy leaders have all done what they
had to do and yes, we expect to win," he said last night.
"We are ahead for certain in three parishes and in a
dead heat in a couple of others, which we think we can pull
off." Asked about the turnout, Dr. Baugh said it would
be in the JLP's favour "if it is higher than usual".
"A reasonably good turnout would favour us," he
said. "Regardless though, it will be an interesting contest."
in western Jamaica, traditionally a PNP stronghold but now
considered a major battleground in light of the JLP's impressive
showing in last October's polls, both parties have been flexing
to Edmund Bartlett, the JLP's deputy leader with special responsibility
for western Jamaica, his party intends to consolidate on the
gains they made in last year's polls by winning at least four
of the five councils in the region. In addition, he said the
JLP would have at least four of the five mayors when "all
the dust has settled".
are looking at a complete wipe-out in Trelawny, six out of
seven in Hanover, a minimum of five to seven in Westmoreland
and at least eight of the 17 seats in St. James," said
Bartlett, who has been credited for turning around the fortunes
of the JLP in the west. "Despite the heavy spending by
our opponents, I think the momentum is with us and we expect
to do very well."
the PNP, which copped 15 of 17 in St. James, five of nine
in Trelawny, four of seven in Hanover, eight of 15 in St.
Elizabeth and all 14 in Westmoreland, in the 1998 Local Government
elections, has been quite active on the ground in the region
and is bent on salvaging the losses suffered last October.
have done a lot for Local Government and are expecting the
people of the region to give us a mandate to continue,"
said the chairman of the PNP's Region Six and Member of Parliament
for South St. James, Derrick Kellier. "As things are,
we expect to sweep Westmoreland once again and we are looking
to get at least six out of seven in Hanover. We expect to
win St. James, but that is definitely too close to call."