Tue | Oct 24, 2017

It's not difficult, Portia tells Comrades

Published:Friday | February 19, 2016 | 11:13 PMDaraine Luton

Days after the publication of a Gleaner commissioned poll which found her party four points ahead of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Portia Simpson Miller has told party workers to fight to the very end to secure victory.

"Get in the communities, be on the field. Do not give in, do not give up, it is not difficult, and I am sure on the night of the election we all will be smiling," she said at a mass meeting in Papine, East St Andrew, Wednesday night.

The People's National Party (PNP) president is seeking to steer her party into a second term. The PNP won 42 of the 63 seats in the House of Representatives in 2011, seven of which were won with margins of fewer than 300 votes.

Two of those marginal seats converged in Papine, St Andrew, where Simpson Miller addressed the mass rally Wednesday.

Eastern St Andrew was won by Andre Hylton by a margin of 254 votes in 2011, ending the reign of the JLP, which up to that point, had the seat from 2002.

The JLP's candidate is Fayval Williams.

"Under no condition will labourites get back Norman Manley's constituency of Eastern St Andrew," said Hylton who is considered vulnerable.

East Rural St Andrew was won by the PNP's Damion Crawford by 259 votes. Crawford has been replaced on the ballot by Imani Duncan Price, who will face-off with the JLP's Juliet Holness, wife of Andrew Holness, opposition leader.

Simpson Miller used the rally to outline the achievements of the PNP in the last four years and to point the way forward for the next term.

She spoke to the expansion of the BPO sector, adding that her administration encouraged the creation of 18,000 jobs in the sector over the past four years and is projecting another 18,000 in the next term.

Coffee farmers in the Blue Mountain range have been promised more assistance.

"The farmers in the hills of St Andrew can look forward to a better future with the People's National Party," she said.

Simpson Miller, mindful of the nearby August Town being the cradle for many musical output, said that a new PNP administration will create a special fund to assist players in the creative sector.

"With the PNP there is hope for a better Jamaica. With the PNP there is hope for a better future for all Jamaicans," she said.

"Walk the streets, walk the lanes, walk every community, and tell the people what the PNP has done," she said.

"Get your copy of the PNP Manifesto, read it and tell the people about the exciting new developments that will come with the next PNP government," the PNP president added.

Simpson Miller has been on the campaign trail since last November telling comrades to get ready for elections.

"Where I have been on the campaign trail so far in all of those constituencies, I can report things are going extremely well for the People's National Party," she said.

In box

Seats won by 300 or less in 2011 election

- West Rural St Andrew - 237 (PNP Paul Buchanan)

- East St Andrew - 254 (PNP Andre Hylton)

East Rural St Andrew - 259 (PNP Damion Crawford)

Western St Mary - 227 (PNP Jolyan Silvera)

St James East Central - 174 (JLP Ed Bartlett)

Eastern Hanover - 251 (PNP DK Duncan)

South West St Elizabeth - 13 (PNP Hugh Buchanan)

Clarendon South East - 107 (JLP Rudyard Spencer)

St James Central - 98 (PNP Lloyd B Smith)