Knight hits the campaign trail to keep Malahoo Forte in Senate
K.D. Knight, the man many Jamaicans have nicknamed 'The 'Sheriff', vowed during yesterday's final sitting of the Senate to do everything in his power to ensure Marlene Malahoo Forte is only able to serve in the Upper House when the next Parliament gets under way.
Knight said he has taken steps to convince the voters of West Central St James that Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams should be given the nod over her contender at the polls on February 25.
As the race heats up in the West Central St James constituency between the People's National Party's (PNP) Ffolkes-Abrahams and the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Malahoo Forte, The Gleaner has been reliably informed that a former JLP leader had visited the constituency to shore up Malahoo Forte's chances.
Knight told The Gleaner that the chance of Malahoo Forte winning in West Central St James was slimmer than when she challenged the late Roger Clarke for the Central Westmoreland seat in 2011. He said Central Westmoreland was the senator's home ground, yet she did not fare too well against Clarke, who was a PNP stalwart.
"In West Central [St James], she has this problem: she is facing an opponent who has performed, and the people on the ground believe that, and so that hurdle is one that she will not be able to get over because people vote for representatives who perform," Knight said.
Describing himself as a "normal campaigner with some credibility", Knight said the PNP should take home the seat comfortably.
"Once the people say that you have performed - and some of the opponents have said she has performed, but they are JLP and they are not going to dis their party. There are some who have said, to my certain knowledge, that they are JLP [and] they can't find it within their conscience to vote against Mrs Ffolkes-Abrahams, but they can't vote for her, so they are staying home."
ALSO HELPING BUCHANAN
Knight said he had visited South West St Elizabeth on Tuesday to support the PNP's Hugh Buchanan, who will be doing battle with the JLP's Floyd Green in the upcoming election. Knight acknowledged that this contest could be close, but said Buchanan was "ahead and inching forward".
JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang told The Gleaner yesterday that Malahoo Forte would wrest the seat from the PNP's Ffolkes-Abrahams.
"I am sure that Senator Malahoo Forte will be coming to the Lower House on this occasion; I have no doubt about that. Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams has not made an impression on the seat," he asserted.
While conceding that the PNP has a strong organisation on the ground, Chang argued that at the end of the day, "the differential will depend on an acceptance of the candidate, and Senator Malahoo Forte has a much better level of acceptance in the constituency. Malahoo Forte has been working in the constituency over the last three months. That's a lot of time in politics."
Chang said the 673 votes the PNP won the seat by in the 2011 election is easy to overcome, adding that the party is working diligently on the ground, and that Malahoo Forte is well known nationally.