Mon | Mar 30, 2020

The clash of the docs - PNP, JLP supporters confident heading into nomination day in St Mary South East

Published:Sunday | October 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju
Residents of Belfield Works in St Mary South East, including as Shauna seen here, are are forced to wash clothes at a nearby river as there is no water in their pipes.
There is no doubt who has Keisha Campbell's vote.
Supporters of the People’s National Party enjoying themselves in Hill Top in the Belfield division ahead of a party rally in Annotto Bay last Tuesday.
Goats graze on one of the many roads in need of repair in St Mary South East.

Supporters of the two doctors expected to be nominated tomorrow by the major political parties to contest a by-election in St Mary South East are high on confidence going into the October 30 poll.

Last week, supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dr Norman Dunn told The Sunday Gleaner that they've seen enough to give him the chance to represent them in Gordon House, while those opting for the People's National Party's (PNP) Dr Shane Alexis said they are convinced that the Young Turk will deliver on his promises.

Very bad road conditions, inadequate water supply, lack of street lights and high unemployment are just some of the problems shared by several residents in the constituency, but that has not dampened the enthusiasm of the diehard Labourites or Comrades.

At Grandie Hole in Castleton, Carol was optimistic that Dunn's stewardship would serve her well, but warned against overconfidence.




"The JLP man, him is around long time so the people them know him so might gravitate towards him, but the PNP man, you have some diehard people who going to vote along party line. So anything can swing," she declared.

At Belfield Works in the Belfield division, which has traditionally voted PNP, it was obvious that whoever can convince voters that there will be an improvement any time soon should get their votes.

Tony is so peeved at the poor treatment of his district by successive administrations, he will need a strong reason to turn up at the polls.

"Better me nuh vote because if PNP a rule them nuh do nutten fi Belfield Works on a whole, and if Labourite a rule dem nuh do nutten. No matter how the thing need done, dem come like them no business, so when me look pon it, me see politics on a whole no mean nutten to we down here.

"Me have one vehicle and every minute me haffi buy parts. Front end parts would a kill me every minute because of the poor condition of the road. A wah day when them say politician a go through dem dash likkle dirt inna the road and sinthing, and by the time rain fall it dig out again," added Tony.

Just up the road at Hill Top, a number of residents sporting orange-coloured clothing, caps and armbands were "building up the vibes" ahead of a mass rally by the PNP.




They are confident Shane will win, and win big. According to those PNP supporters, some Comrades who were disaffected with Dr Winston Green opted not to vote in the 2016 general election which he won by five votes.

The PNP supporters put that number at more than 600 and charged that these persons who did not vote then will make a significant difference this time around as the new doctor on the PNP ticket has fired their imagination.

They insisted that the bad roads and lack of adequate water are not the party's fault despite the PNP being in charge of the constituency for 22 of the past 27 years.

Over in Richmond, Keisha Campbell was decked out in green paraphernalia and was quite outspoken.

"I am representing Dr Norman Dunn and supporting my party," she proudly declared, serving notice that she has more green suits to showcase between now and election day.

According to Campbell, Dunn is the man for the job.

"Him will do a lot, a lot. Me want it (Richmond) develop some more, more jobs and some of the old building them weh lock down, open them up and create something for the young people them," suggested Campbell.

Meanwhile, within earshot, Shushanna Powell, wearing an orange-coloured shirt, was getting a new hairstyle for the PNP's rally. She refused to be photographed but made it clear where her loyalties were.

"Shane is a young professional and he's always a leader. Shane has led different organisations. He was president of the Medical Association of Jamaica so we know him have the leadership thing deh bout him, and me just like him style. When him a go round you can't tell him seh the person a Labourite don't go deh.

"Him deal wid everybody and check fi everybody, unlike Mr Dunn weh run the second time now and me never see him. Mi affi just see one vehicle pass and them say a Mr Dunn. Him pass all my area, him just gone because him just look fi him Labourite dem," added Powell.

In the sparsely populated town centre relaxing in front of his bar, retired businessman Wardie Fraser was quietly confident that Alexis is poised for victory.

"It near still but him can't lose. The last time plenty a dem Annotto Bay people never vote and Belfield people, and a PNP area that. A dung deh the swing always gwaan, but this time them a go vote. So me no see no way Dunn can win," said the 81-year-old.