Crucial by-election on today for Greater Portmore North
PORTMORE, St Catherine:
A crucial by-election for the Greater Portmore North Division of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation, which is being contested by the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Ann Marie Lewis and the People's National Party's (PNP) Gary Nicholson, will be held today.
With the corporation having a one-seat majority in favour of the PNP before the death of councillor Michael Edwards, a win today by the JLP would give it the chairmanship and mayoral positions along with the deputies and the reins on the largest municipal corporation in the island.
Both candidates, assisted by senior party functionaries, have been on the ground since their nomination, establishing their presence and courting voters house to house.
KNOW CONCERNS OF THE PEOPLE
Lewis, a teacher who obtained 921 votes to Edwards's 1,623 in the recent local government elections, is taking a second crack at the division, which has eluded the JLP's grasp. Edwards won the division three time for the PNP before his death in January.
"I live in the division and I know the concerns of the people. It is very difficult for someone who does not live in the division to effectively represent the people," she said.
"I am not making anything up. The division needs help. I am the one to help the people," Lewis said, at the same time highlighting how critical it is for the JLP to win the division and reverse the PNP hold on the municipal corporation.
Nicholson, an accountant, while expressing optimism about carrying on the PNP tradition in the division, was measured in his remarks.
"I am not taking anything for granted; however, I think I will add to the winning majority. The fact that I was the constituency chairman, I have always been in touch with the people. I will continue to be accessible to them," he said.
A spokesman at the electoral office told The Gleaner that all systems were in place for a smooth day's operation and no major concerns were evident.
The polls are expected to be opened at 8 a.m.