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I will walk with you - Juliet Holness

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2016 | 1:00 AMGary Spaulding
Juliet Holness being cheered on by Labourites, at a constituency conference at Jamaica College on Sunday.

Declaring that she was well aware that the roads are rocky and the hills are steep, Juliet Holness has vowed unswerving commitment to East Rural St Andrew.

"I will walk with you," said Holness, with ringing endorsement from her husband, Andrew, leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), General Secretary Dr Horace Chang and stalwart Karl Samuda.

In her first public address as the JLP standard-bearer for St Andrew East Rural at a constituency conference at Jamaica College in Eastern St Andrew, Juliet Holness, who was elected chairman of the constituency, gave a status profile of the area from her initial treks through the constituency.

She told cheering loyalists that she found East Rural St Andrew lacked the most basic social amenities.

"Over the last couple of weeks, I have been walking in East Rural St Andrew," said Holness, who will create history if she wins the seat, by becoming the first spouse of a prime minister to be elected.

Holness quipped that her travels in water boots were in contrast to the modus operandi of her political rival, the People's National Party's (PNP) Imani Duncan Price, who she said travelled over the mountainous constituency by helicopter.

"You know when you coming down that hill, you have to walk fast," she chuckled. "I have met people in their homes, the people have invited me."

a 'family of families'

Characterising East Rural St Andrew as a "family of families," Holness proclaimed that it felt wonderful to be welcomed by all in the community.

She complained that while the constituency is "one of the most beautiful places in Jamaica", it has been plagued by a "pull-down process".

Holness charged that St Andrew East Rural is bedevilled by deplorable road and farming conditions, with numerous breakaways placing residents' lives at risk.

"In this day and age, people shouldn't have to be walking with water for miles and miles," she declared.

Pointing to what she described as an unacceptably high unemployment levels in East Rural St Andrew, Holness sought to rally JLP supporters to action.

"We don't have much time ... . It is now time for us to pull together a team to ensure that the beautiful constituency can grow from strength to strength," said Holness.

She added: "East Rural can definitely be the beautiful areas where we can live, raise our families, be happy."

According to Holness, she became painfully aware that East Rural has been craving leadership.

"The leadership that can transform lives into prosperity with a voice," said Holness. "Let me be your voice," she added to thunderous applause.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com