Wed | Jun 28, 2017

Labourites livid - Party promoter-turned-councillor under pressure in JLP stronghold of 'Backbush'

Published:Sunday | March 19, 2017 | 3:00 AMCorey Robinson
Andrew Bellamy at his first meeting of the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation after being elected.
Prime Minister and Jamaica Labour Party Leader Andrew Holness having a word with Member of Parliament for Eastern St Andrew Fayval Williams.
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There is trouble brewing in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) camp in Eastern St Andrew with first-time councillor, Andrew Bellamy, facing strong criticisms from some Labourites who voted for him in the recent local government elections.

First-time Member of Parliament for the constituency Fayval Williams has avoided the wrath of the residents so far, but they have warned that she will be targeted next if she fails to address their concerns about what they claim is the non-performance of Bellamy, the councillor for the Mona division.

Last week, some residents of the JLP stronghold of 'Backbush' in the vicinity of 119 Mountain View Avenue told our news team that they are disappointed, having voted for Bellamy and the JLP.

 

BELLAMY POSTERS

 

The anger has already resulted in some Bellamy posters, which were erected in the lead-up to the local government election, being defaced.

"Backbush is a stronghold for the JLP in this constituency. We always a give them vote no matter what. We need road. We need better water system. We need less zinc fence. Right now, God bless the little asphalt on the road them," one female resident told our news team.

"The likkle youth dem want nuff things to do. See it (there), is pure zinc fences around here. If they would even give us a start and mek we finish, it wouldn't so bad," added an elderly woman at a shop in the depressed community last week.

"Is round here I born, 30 years now," interjected a man clad in white merino and jeans, standing outside the shop.

"Vegas (a nearby community) turn a rubbish heap into a football field. Jarrett Lane (another neighbouring community) turn a marl dump into a football field. What is happening for us round here?" added the obviously frustrated man.

That shop was among the few areas in Backbush where residents openly spoke about the protest against Bellamy.

At other places, residents denied knowledge of the protest or explained why they would not speak to our news team.

"All the years me live a Backbush I go jail for things that I don't do. My granny said he who keepeth his mouth ...," snickered one man near a popular gambling spot from where the midday shufflers looked at the news team with distrust.

The defaced Bellamy posters were removed when our news team returned to Backbush last week, but brave residents displayed pictures of the signs with Bellamy, which they had on their cellular phones.

Efforts to get a comment from Bellamy have so far been unsuccessful, but the member of parliament told The Sunday Gleaner that the protest is being carried out by a small group of residents.

 

MP APPEALS FOR PATIENCE

 

According to Williams, she has appealed to the residents for patience as the young councillor takes on his responsibilities.

"I know of the situation. There are a couple of disgruntled members of the community. But Bellamy only won the division at the end of last year. It is not even six months yet. One has to allow him time to get his bearings," said Williams.

"The people of Backbush, you are a very important community to me. I have been with you for the past three or four years. You know my record in that community and we will be taking it to another level," said Williams in a message to the dissidents.

Williams said in another two weeks, her office will be opening a resource centre in the community while in three months rehabilitation work will also begin on several roads in the area.

Bellamy, a businessman and party promoter, won the local government election over People's National Party candidate Dollis Campbell with 2,891 votes to 2,372 votes.

About 37 per cent of the 14,381 voters participated in the election on November 28 last year, weeks after Bellamy, accompanied by a massive motorcade, was nominated.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com