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Bartlett confident of victory in upcoming election

Published:Wednesday | February 3, 2016 | 2:00 AMChristopher Thomas
Bartlett

Western Bureau:

The Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) candidate for East Central St James, Edmund Bartlett, is confident he will maintain his position as the constituency's member of parliament (MP) when voters go to the polls on February 25.

"This is an easy election for us. We have done substantial work in the constituency, and we have touched the lives of almost every household in the constituency," Bartlett declared to The Gleaner yesterday.

East Central St James is one of six constituency seats being targeted by the ruling People's National Party (PNP) following Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller's announcement of the election during a mass rally in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, on Sunday evening. The PNP will be represented in the constituency by former mayor of Montego Bay, Noel Donaldson, on election day.

Speaking to the issue of his potential challenger, Bartlett declared that Donaldson does not have as great a presence among the electorate in the constituency as himself.

"[Donaldson] has no track record here, and he is yet to be known. He has to account for his instability in terms of his own political position, being PNP first, then JLP and then back to PNP," said Bartlett, making reference to Donaldson leaving the PNP to join the JLP in 1997, then crossing the floor back to the PNP in late 2015.

"People are looking for stability and fixity of purpose. It is always important for you to be reliable, that people can know you stand for something. The canvass shows we are comfortably ahead ... because our people know the people around, and especially with the new voters that have come on."

Bartlett also pointed to several programmes he has spearheaded in East Central St James over the years as evidence that he will have the support of voters, particularly the youth cohort, at the polls.

"The young people are gravitating to us in a manner that is very satisfying. Young people have been calling just to say that, on the basis of performance, they are going with the performer," said Bartlett.

"Almost every adult of voting age in the constituency has been through our education programme, whether by way of an education scholarship to high school, the programme where we have bought all the Grade Six Achievement Test books required for grade-six children whose parents cannot afford it, or university scholarships ... . We know that the young people are responding to us on the basis of these strong connections and the investments we have made in their intellectual development."

christopher.thomas@gleanerjm.com