Moving Back to Jamaica

A blog about my Move Back to Jamaica after 20+ years of living in the US. Most of the articles focus on the period from 2005-2009 when the transition was new, and at it's most challenging.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Working on Election Day

At some point it will be official -- I will either be a Presiding Officer or a Poll
Clerk in the next elections.

I thought I was vounteering, and playing my part as a citizen, until I understood that I was actually going to be paid about J$5000 -- which is about US$87.

Now, that is not bad money.

Except that I happen to be working in one of the "special" constituencies i.e. possibly dangerous, or disruptive. I can't say that I meant to sign up for all that!

We (the election day workers) will actually be sequestered at some hotel, before being bused in the following morning to an "undisclosed" location. Once the polling is complete, we will be bused back out.


Elections days in the past have meant gunshots, stolen ballot boxes, 100%+ "turnouts" in some constituences and a range of other "irregularities." According to a Trini friend of mine, Elections is to Jamaicans what Carnival is to Trinis, except that elections only come once every 5 years.

A few years ago, I participated as an observer of the process in one volatile area, and that was an eye-opener. Votes materialized out of thin air, as the list of votes exceeded the number of voters by a fair margin.

Like everything else in Jamaica, it had tinges of excitement, danger, chaos and fun mixed in. Tempers, emotions and sweat were all running quite hot back then, it what everyone knew was an easy win for the ruling party.

The upcoming election is bound to be a close one, so whatever job I actually do on the day is going to be important. I am sure that the four evenings of training and testing I underwent will be put to good use.

Elections here are a serious business -- we love them and hate them.

And thank God we have them, and that our governments have willingly given up power, and stepped aside.

This is a national miracle.


At 10/13/2006 12:05 PM, Blogger Melody said...

Finally, fair elections?! Inna Jamaica? That's bludy marvelous!

At 10/13/2006 5:51 PM, Blogger ian said...

enjoy working in some community that ends in town. as a white man who spent more then enough time in communities ending in town or pen (denham town, allman town, greenwhich town, grants pen, etc.) I can attest that things are always worse in the gleaner then in real life even when walking up & down those lanes.

At 10/14/2006 9:06 AM, Blogger CollegePrep North said...

Congratulations, my friend. Yes
This is a good thing.


At 10/16/2006 7:31 PM, Blogger Stunner said...

LOL! Well think of it this way, even volunteers need to eat! Be carefull though on election day.

At 10/21/2006 8:00 AM, Blogger SimplEnigma said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing your experience. I never really thought about the folks behind the elections, so now I know something more about it.

At 10/21/2006 3:29 PM, Anonymous Gela said...

Oh Great! My mother always used to do that.

Hey, why haven't I been able to comment on any of your posts these past months?

Let's see if this comment will be accepted.

Melody, it has been pretty fair these last few elections. I'm fairful about this one though.

At 10/21/2006 3:32 PM, Anonymous Gela said...

I actually volunteered and worked the last election. I don't remember what I did, think I was some sort of observer too in some constituency near maxfield ave. I think.

At 10/25/2006 2:48 PM, Anonymous Jamaipanese said...

watch yourself on e-day, certain areas can be dangerous if you are posted there.

At 10/27/2006 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am quite enamoured by your ability to "skylark", blog, run a successful business - jetting all over the caribbean and sign up as an election day worker - very admirable stuff.

Is the stint an an election day worker a precursor to your entry into politics? I note you listed politics as one of your interests.

God bless!


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