Jamaican voters box clever on poll day

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The Independent Online
With the world heavyweight boxing champion, Evander Holyfield, on hand to help ensure a clean fight, Jamaicans went to the polls yesterday in general elections seen as the most significant in the nation's 50 years of suffrage.

Holyfield, representing the Carter Centre team of international observers, received a warmer welcome than any of the candidates and was mobbed by voters in poor suburbs as he toured polling stations in the capital. Former US President Jimmy Carter and General Colin Powell, whose parents were Jamaican, were also on hand to witness the balloting.

Peace, more than politics, was the key word as Jamaicans prayed in church services around the nation, for a voting day free of the violence of past years, notably 1980 when 800 people died. All soldiers' leave was cancelled and hospitals went on an emergency footing, but by late yesterday there were no reports of major incidents.