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St Andrew East Rural: A PNP seat with occasional mood swings

Published:Monday | February 22, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Imani Duncan-Price (left), the People's National Party candidate for East Rural St Andrew, shakes hands with Juliet Holness, who is running in the constituency on the Jamaica Labour Party ticket, during the signing of the Political Code of Conduct at Emancipation Park in New Kingston earlier this month.

Of 12 contested elections in this constituency since 1959, the People's National Party (PNP) has won eight and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) four.

But anthropologist Dr Herbert Gayle notes that the Comrades usually strengthen their hold on the seat whenever they win it, leaving the JLP's Juliet Holness with a major task if she is to beat the PNP's Imani Duncan-Price.



"If the JLP should win the seat in the upcoming election, it would be a major fracture of the (historical) timelines," said Gayle, who noted that the two candidates, who have both been in the constituency for less than a year, will not have a great impact on how persons vote.

The researcher noted that the constituency has three large areas and three small areas with elections won by dominating the large communities of "Bull Bay/Seven Miles, Harbour View and Gordon Town".

Gayle noted that Kintyre/Hope Flats, Dallas and its surroundings, and Mavis Bank do not make up even one-fifth of the constituency.

"In Bull Bay, the PNP controls the main frame, but the JLP holds the isolated and fringe areas such as Cane River, Friendship and Ten Miles. The JLP also controls Seven Miles," said Gayle.

He noted that the result from the study is that the JLP edges the PNP in the largest area (25:21). Nonetheless, the PNP dominates the JLP three to one in Harbour View and two to one in Gordon Town, and, consequently, dominates the big three overall by 51:36.

Gayle said the PNP then wins the struggle for the minors by the creation of 'nests' in areas such as Hope Flats to create a ratio of 18:15.

"These patches (or nests as the residents describe them) suggest that the PNP have more mature roots in this constituency - forcing the researchers to conclude that it is indeed a seat for the PNP to lose."