Marsha’s mighty task - Hometown girl vows to defeat the unbeatable Robertson
For hometown girl Marsha Francis, there is no question about it - she is destined to make history.
Francis, the People's National Party (PNP) candidate for St Thomas Western, has served notice that she is on a mission to wrest the seat from the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) James Robertson.
She is banking on drawing support from the majority of voters who she describes as "her people".
Francis proudly declares that she is the product of St Thomas Western and a second generation PNP councillor to boot.
Francis and her father have represented the PNP in the Cedar Valley Division in the constituency and she is confident that this provides a platform for her to hand Robertson, a deputy leader of the JLP, his first general election defeat.
"We are totally prepared for the election," she told The Sunday Gleaner as she vowed to capture a seat the PNP has not held since 2002.
"The people, recognising that my father was a good representative, for years, approached me to represent the division," said Francis.
"I answered the call and I proudly stepped forward and was successful in the local government election," added Francis.
In the 2012 local government election, Francis made her entry into representational politics and emerged victorious with 903 votes, defeating the JLP's Deverell Dwyer 679.
Now she is ready to step up.
"Today, based on my level of representation in the Cedar Valley Division, they have urged me to make another step and hoist the bar. So I decided to enter the race as a Member of Parliament to represent where I am from with all the dignity that is required," she said.
Of the 15 contested parliamentary general elections in St Thomas Western - 1944 to 2011 - the JLP has won 11 including the last three while the PNP has held the seat on four occasions, the last time being in 1997.
But Francis said she is not fazed by the numbers as she has what it takes to overcome the three term MP, Robertson.
"I know that we will win this constituency for the People's National Party. What I have realised and recognised in St Thomas Western is that the people have been suffering from a lack of representation," said Francis. "I am suffering from a lack of representation in some areas, myself."
According to Francis, after the election victory, her work will start with the rebuilding of the infrastructure in the constituency.
"I intend to start by looking at the infrastructural development and empowering our youths in the constituency by providing opportunities for them, so that our future can be brighter.
"The people of West St Thomas know better than to continue with the lack of representation that we are experiencing at the moment," said Francis as she argued that she has an added advantage.
"Because I am from the parish and a daughter of the soil in St Thomas, I believe the people will embrace the fact that I was born in Whitehorses and raised in Richmond Vale in the parish.
"We are like family, and so I believe the people will support the People's National Party because, at this time, I am the best candidate."
West St Thomas: 1980 2011
ELECTION YEAR CANDIDATE'S NAME NO. VOTES CAST
1980 Errol Anderson (JLP) 12,214
Selvin Dewar (PNP) 4,123
Margin of Victory 8091
1983 PNP BOYCOTT
1989 Errol Anderson (JLP) 9,390
Ronald G. Lampart (PNP) 7,822
Margin of Victory 1,568
1993 Anthony Hylton (PNP) 7,478
Errol Anderson (JLP) 5,079
Margin of Victory 2,399
1997 Anthony Hylton (PNP) 7,728
Dorothy Lightbourne (JLP) 7,260
Margin of Victory 468
2002 James Robertson (JLP) 7,390
Anthony Hylton (PNP) 8,700
Margin of Victory 1,310
2007 James Robertson (JLP) 9,581
Y. Rosemarie Shaw (PNP) 7,442
Margin of Victory 2,139
2011 James Robertson (JLP) 8,969
Leonard Green (PNP) 8,652
Margin of Victory 317