Slow but smooth voting in Annotto Bay Division – St Mary South Eastern Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

It’s decision day in the battleground parochial division of Annotto Bay in the St Mary South Eastern constituency.

Voters are deciding whether the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Knute Bartley or the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Hugh ‘Hugo’ Bryan will become their councillor in the St Mary Municipal Corporation.

Bryan is the incumbent councillor for the division.

Polling stations opened at 7:00am on Monday across the division and will close at 5:00pm this afternoon.

Voting is already progressing smoothly, but not many voters have thus far turned-up at the Annotto Bay Primary School, one of several polling stations in the division.

Voters on both sides of the political divide are confident that their candidate would come out the victor at the end of Monday night’s counting of the ballots.

“Voting was okay. The place (Annotto Bay) needs a change and more development, so let’s see,” said one woman after voting. She opted not to be named.

A JLP supporter could be heard shouting, “Time come and gone, JLP time now”, as he left the compound of the primary school.

‘Time Come’ is the election slogan of the PNP.

Bryan first contested municipal elections on behalf of the JLP for the Annotto Bay Division in 2003, losing by 20 votes to the PNP’s Patrick White who polled 1,768 votes.

In 2007, Bryan defeated the PNP’s Valerie Walters, getting 2,481 votes to Walters 2,187. In 2012, the PNP’s Dane Golding beat Bryan by 600 votes.

Bryan flipped the script on Golding in the 2016 local polls, receiving 2,471 votes to Golding’s 2,115 votes. The voter turnout on that occasion was 50.98 per cent, one of the highest in the country in a single division.

The incumbent has previously expressed confidence that he can stave off any challenge mounted by Barclay, a newcomer to local representational politics in the division.

Annotto Bay, Richmond, and Castleton are the three divisions held by the JLP within the St Mary South Eastern constituency after the 2016 local polls.  The PNP held on to the Belfield Division by 250 votes.