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  Ruling party wins parish council elections 

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won yesterday’s Local Government Elections, taking eight of the country’s 13 parish councils, including the prized Kingston and St Andrew Corporation, in a poll marked by extremely low voter turnout, signalling widespread disinterest in a governance system hobbled by poor credibility.

Prime Minister and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness (centre) celebrates his party’s Local Government Election victory last night at JLP headquarters with Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie (left) and Delroy Williams, who won the Seiveright Division. (Photos: Michael Gordon)

Prime Minister and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness (centre) celebrates his party’s Local Government Election victory last night at JLP headquarters with Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie (left) and Delroy Williams, who won the Seiveright Division. (Photos: Michael Gordon)

Preliminary results at press time last night showed that the JLP had also taken the parish councils in Clarendon, Portland, St Ann, St Elizabeth, St James, St Mary, and Trelawny.

Ties reported in St Thomas and St Catherine will likely be resolved by the official count which could be completed today.

The voter turnout of 30 per cent was said to be the lowest in the country’s local government election history.

Last night, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who is also the JLP leader, welcomed the party’s second victory at the polls in nine months as a positive response to the JLP’s performance in Government.

However, he warned supporters celebrating the victory at the party’s Belmont Road headquarters in Kingston that the real work to turn around the economy must start today.

“This victory can almost be seen as a referendum on our performance for the last nine months, and Jamaica is saying, you have performed,” Holness told the huge crowd.

He noted that the JLP has moved from controlling none of the island’s municipal corporations (parish councils) to taking charge of at least eight of those councils.

He also pointed out that in the Westmoreland Council, in which there was no JLP representation up to yesterday, the party had improved its position to hold five of the 14 divisions.

He thanked the “very hard-working team of councillors and councillor/caretakers” who represented the party in the election.

“We celebrate tonight as we should, because we deserve this victory,” Holness encouraged the jubilant supporters. But he cautioned that there was a “level of soberness” which has to be applied to the victory.

“The real work starts tomorrow, after this victory, to serve you and serve Jamaica,” he said.

He said that the JLP had started a process on February 25 which many people thought would not last.

“But we continue to disprove them, and we continue to impress a number of Jamaicans who see our Government working tirelessly to fulfil our commitment and improve the quality of life for the average Jamaican,” he said.

“But, again, we are not going to take it for granted. We are going to work even harder, because the situation at the central government (level) is still tight and there is no room for error or complacency,” he stated.

“We are on a mission to transform Jamaica, to change Jamaica for better. You are going to, 10 years, 20 years from now, look back and say you stood at Belmont Road when the transformation process started, with the completion of the transfer of the authority of this country from the PNP to the JLP to make the changes necessary to move Jamaica from poverty to prosperity,” added.

“I stand here and I tell that every muscle in my body, every vein in my body, every thought in my mind is about how to make your life better. How to improve Jamaica. I am totally committed to this,” Holness concluded.

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