Polls are now open for by-elections in three constituencies.
In South St Andrew, former Opposition Senator Mark Golding will go up against the JLP’s Dane Dennis.
While in South West St Andrew, the choice is between the former Mayor of Kingston, the PNP’s Dr. Angela Brown Burke and the JLP’s Victor Hyde.
But the race to watch today is the hotly contested marginal constituency of South East St. Mary where it’ll be a battle royale between political newcomer the PNP’s Dr. Shane Alexis and the JLP’s Dr. Norman Dunn.
The candidates made early appeals to voters with their charisma and catchy slogans.
And both pointed to their records of service.
But while Dunn was able to pitch himself as a son of Southeast St. Mary, it soon emerged that Alexis wasn’t even a son of Jamaica!
This quickly ballooned into a major campaign issue, with the JLP calling out the PNP for hypocrisy in allowing a non-citizen to run.
They also alleged that Dr. Alexis took a scholarship opportunity from a deserving Jamaican to pursue his medical studies in Cuba, a claim that the PNP candidate is now suing over.
And as the issue failed to go away, just days before the election, Dr. Alexis told party supporters in St. Mary that he’d applied for citizenship through his wife.
Meanwhile, the PNP hit back at Dr. Dunn, claiming he’s not eligible to run because of contracts between his pharmacies and the government, casting aspersions on his service with the Jamaica Defense Force, and then claiming that he doesn’t have any pharmacies serving the people of St. Mary.
The latter claim came from PNP politician Damion Crawford but was quickly rebuffed by Dr. Dunn.
The JLP has also denied that Dr. Dunn has contracts with the government.
Now although the actual issues facing the people of Southeast St. Mary have been overshadowed on the national stage by the candidates’ personal issues, both have made attempts to outline their plans for the constituency.
Polls close at 5 this evening, and it won’t be long after that, that the people of Jamaica will know who has taken the contentious seat.