ED PREVAILS - Will continue development plans … But it may not be over
The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)’s Edmund Bartlett, yesterday survived attempts by defeated People’s National Party (PNP) candidate, Cedric Stewart to oust him from the East Central St. James seat through a magisterial recount.
The four-day recount of all 102 boxes, which ended yesterday at the Cambridge Courthouse in South St. James, saw Bartlett prevailing with 6,382 votes while Stewart received 6,208, an increased margin of 174.
The official recount from the Electoral Office of Jamaica had showed that Bartlett received 6,337 votes and Stewart took 6,172, a difference of 165. The independent candidate, Roystan Richards claimed 24 votes.
When the Western Mirror spoke with Bartlett last night, he emphasized that the recount was a clear indication of the will of the people. “First of all, the magisterial recount restates what happened on election night,” Bartlett stated.
He pointed out that, “There were clear markings on some of those ballots which were clearly for the JLP, and it was evident that some of those legitimate votes cast for the JLP were tampered with.”
He is insisting that forensic audit needs to be conducted, particularly where the ballots of Election Day workers are concerned.
During the process, the Magistrate Sandra Wong Small who presided over the recount, ruled that some 162 ballots be thrown out; those ballots were from PD Box 50 which had the votes of Election Day workers.
These ballots reportedly had scribbles on them which would have automatically deemed them spoilt. There were also reported cases where ‘Xs’ were placed beside different symbols on some ballots.
In conceding defeat, Stewart told the Western Mirror last night, he had congratulated Bartlett on retaining his hold on the seat. “The magisterial recount confirmed that he (Bartlett) has the majority, however, we are concerned about procedural discrepancies, especially as it relates to PD Box # 50,” Stewart said.
The defeated PNP candidate had told this newspaper on Tuesday that he and his lawyers were seeking to have the entire election process in that seat declared null and void.
When asked last night if he planned to push ahead with those plans, he said: “It is a bit too early to say what we are going to do but we are going to meet with one of our attorneys, Mr. Abe Dabdoub, who has a lot of experience in this area and we will decide how we will go forward.”
In the meantime, Stewart indicated that he was “feeling quite good.” According to him, “We knew what we were doing; we had to use this medium to highlight the discrepancies.”
He also indicated that they are likely to take their concerns to the Election Court or the Supreme Court.
This is Bartlett’s third term as Member of Parliament for the constituency. He said he was planning to continue working and complete various projects which he had begun during his previous tenure.
Some of the plans he outlined include: continuation of the education programme, the Greenfield Housing Development and Brownfield Development and the John’s Hall Development.
“We will be continuing plans to transform Adelphi into a satellite city as well as continue road improvement work for the Williamfield Road, Sunderland Road and Palmyra Road,” Bartlett revealed.