Published On: Wed, Mar 2nd, 2016

New Jamaica prime minister to be sworn in on Thursday

andrew-holnessKINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica will officially have a new leader tomorrow and a new Cabinet by next week.

Andrew Holness will be sworn in tomorrow afternoon, a week after his Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won general elections.

The procedural recount, which ended on Monday night with the JLP winning 32 seats to the People’s National Party’s (PNP) 31, had delayed his inauguration. But the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) yesterday confirmed that Director of Elections Orrette Fisher had advised Governor General Sir Patrick Allen that the JLP had won majority of the seats, paving the way for Holness to be sworn in.

The preliminary count after last Thursday’s elections had given the JLP 33 seats and the PNP 30 in the 63-seat House of Representatives.

However, following the recount in the St. Mary South Eastern constituency, the JLP lost that seat to the PNP. The JLP candidate Dr. Norman Dunn has filed for a magisterial recount, contending that votes for him which were accepted in the preliminary counting, were disallowed in the recount and ballots for the PNP’s Dr. Winston Green were improperly accepted.

The magisterial recount begins today.

Meantime, JLP general secretary Dr. Horace Chang said on local radio that a new Cabinet should be in place by next Monday. He said the Cabinet would have a mix of youth and experience.

Although not yet sworn in, Holness has been meeting with officials in various government agencies as well as diplomats.

Yesterday, he met with Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr. Kevin Harvey and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Winston De La Haye, to discuss the management of and get an update on, the swine flu virus in Jamaica. Two people died from swine-flu related illnesses last month.

Holness said requests have been made for vaccines from overseas while current stocks are now being positioned for frontline workers.

“We are keeping a close watch on the daily happenings in the health sector as it relates to the swine flu virus,” he said on his Facebook page.

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