Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Portia props up weaker candidates in St Ann

Published:Tuesday | November 10, 2015 | 11:00 AMDaraine Luton
People’s National Party President Portia Simpson Miller is flanked by Keith Walford (left) and Desmond Gilmore on the platform during a mass rally in Brown’s Town, St Ann.
Senator A.J. Nicholson (left) and Lisa Hanna, member of parliament for South East St Ann, dance up a storm on a platform during the rally in Brown’s Town, St Ann.
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People's National Party (PNP) President Portia Simpson Miller used her stop in Brown's Town, St Ann, Sunday night to prop up two of her weaker candidates in the parish, Keith Walford and Desmond Gilmore.

The PNP president put both men at her side as she began her address to the massive crowd of PNP supporters in the tiny town square.

Walford is seeking to retain the South West St Ann seat he won in 2011 by 822 votes and Gilmore is trying to return North East St Ann to the clutches of the PNP, having lost the relatively safe seat to Shahine Robinson in 2001.

Both candidates did not hide the fact that they have a tough fight on their hands, but expressed confidence they would prevail.

Gilmore declared it was high time the PNP retook the seat from Robinson, whom he accused of masquerading as a representative.

"Enough is enough and time come!" Gilmore said.

"We have had enough. You have overstayed your welcome. Pack your bags and go," he added, his voice trumpeting above the hundreds of vuvuzelas being sounded by jubilant Comrades.

Noting that the PNP campaign slogan for the upcoming election is 'Stepping Up the Progress', Gilmore said North East St Ann should rejoin the "progressive" league.

"The progress is not taking place because who we have saying that they are representing us is not doing a good job. I say to you, thanks, bye-bye, ta-ta. The owner fi di yard is here," Gilmore said.

Meanwhile, Walford, while not as energetic as Gilmore, said the PNP should start a dynasty in South West St Ann.

Aside from Glenville Shaw in 1997, Walford is the only PNP candidate to have won the seat.

"Dem say it was Labourite country, but now it is the People's National Party that will rule South East St Ann," Walford said.

OPPOSITIONTACTICS

He, however, made it clear that he was uncomfortable with the tactics of his opponent, Xavier Mayne, who he said has been spending freely on alcoholic beverages.

"Him waah turn everybody in South West inna alcoholic. Dem say anywhere him stop the first argument is, 'Serve the liquor'," Walford said.

He said his mission was about development, and bragged that he has been able to bring the first ABM to the constituency. He said, too, that the creation of a skills-training centre is testimony to his devotion to the advancement of people.

But Walford said he has been encountering too many persons in the constituency who have indicated they don't intended to vote in the upcoming polls.

"If you don't vote and the Labourites don't vote, the People's National Party cannot be the next government. So Comrades, I reach out to you ... . We have a job to do. Make sure that the People's National Party is returned as the Government of Jamaica, and make sure that South West St Ann remains in the winning column of the People's National Party," Walford said.

Lisa Hanna, the chairman of the PNP Region One, which covers St Ann and Trelawny, noted that the party took two seats from the JLP in the last election - South West St Ann and North West St Ann.

"I am telling the Labourites, we are coming for North East and we coming for South Trelawny," she said.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com