Jamaicans set to vote in general election on Thursday

The latest Jamaica Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll shows that the JLP and the PNP are in a statistical dead heat.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wednesday December 28, 2011 - Andrew Holness, the country’s youngest prime minister, will tomorrow lead his Jamaica Labour Party’s charge to retain government control.

Observers have predicted a strong challenge from the main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) led by Portia Simpson Miller, this state’s first female prime minister.

In his final national broadcast ahead of the poll on Thursday, Holness urged the 1.64 million registered voters to support the JLP, stating that that party has “taken the country through some tough times.”

“We give God thanks that we have been able to prevent the type of instability that wealthier countries have experienced,” he said.

In her final hours of campaigning, Simpson Miller, the PNP president, questioned Holness’ ability to run the country, and warned Jamaicans against voting for an inexperienced leader.

“I don’t know if you would put your children in a car with someone who has just learned to drive,” said Simpson Miller, who headed government from March 2006 to September 2007.

Holness, 39, was appointed in October following the resignation of then Prime Minister Bruce Golding.

The PNP has predicted it would win at least 37 of the 60 seats, up from the 28 it won in the 2007 polls.

The latest Jamaica Gleaner-commissioned Bill Johnson poll shows that the JLP and the PNP are in a statistical dead heat.

The election would be monitored by national, regional and international observers.

A 25-member team from the Organisation of American States (OAS) was scheduled to be deployed here today.

The Caricom Secretariat has announced that its team arrived in the country December 26 and would remain here until month end.

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