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Don't make my mistakes - Tufton warns Green not to let up in bid to win South West St Bess

Published:Monday | November 2, 2015 | 11:00 AMDaraine Luton

Former South West St Elizabeth Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Christopher Tufton is urging Floyd Green not to take anything for granted in the upcoming general election as it could be costly.

Arguing that he lost the seat in the last general election because Labourites were complacent and did not vote, Tufton begged Green not to make the mistakes he made.

"The last general election, we came close, but we never made it, and I was very disappointed, but I want you to understand that we respected the democratic process nevertheless," Tufton said.

"I believe we could have done a little more, and if we did, I believe we would have taken it."

He added: "We must ensure that as we move into the next one, any lesson that we needed to learn from the last one, we don't make the same mistake."

The former Cabinet minister was addressing a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) divisional conference in Black River.

Tufton walked away from the seat following his defeat, but has been unsuccessful in finding a new constituency home after being rejected by the majority of JLP delegates in West Central St Catherine, a seat he was seeking to represent.

Having won the South West St Elizabeth seat by 1,825 votes in 2007, Tufton was beaten by the People's National Party's (PNP) Hugh Buchanan by 13 votes in the 2011 general election.

constituency better off

Electoral records show that Tufton got 9,899 votes in 2007 when he defeated the PNP's Stanley Redwood, who got 8,074 votes.

In the 2011 election, Tufton dropped 459 votes, polling 9,440, while Buchanan's 9,453 was 1,379 more than the PNP got in the previous election.

Meanwhile, Tufton said that his four-year stint as MP resulted in several benefits to Black River, including new produce, meat and fish markets, a computer lab for students and adults at the Black River Primary School, three new basic schools and piped water and resurfaced roads in the Slipe district.

He said that South West St Elizabeth is better off today because of the four years of his leadership, than it was during the previous period under the PNP.

"It was a good break that the people had," Tufton said, while arguing that the four years under his watch were better than the 18 and a half years of former MP Donald Buchanan, the father of Hugh.

Tufton said yesterday that he would be working in the constituency to support Green's bid for MP and urged party workers to ensure they are organised.

"Focus on what needs to be done and we must ensure that we do it and do it to the best of our ability because the consequences of even losing by a little is hardship for a long, long time and we can't afford for that to happen again," Tufton said.

One of Tufton's brothers-in-law, the JLP's Dr Adeyni Bamidele, is seeking to be councillor for Black River, while another, Ewan Stephenson, challenged Buchanan as the PNP's standard-bearer for the constituency.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com