Roads the big-ticket item in SE St Mary
Located between Richmond and Cromwell Land, the farming district of Aleppo is a neglected section of the South East St Mary constituency, or so it would seem, if the poor road conditions are an accurate measure of its treatment by successive administrations.
This could prove to be the decisive factor when voters go the polls on October 30, with today's nomination of candidates by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and People's National Party (PNP) taking on the urgency of a general election.
"We need road. We need road bad," Vincent Jahalal told The Gleaner during a recent visit.
After waiting in vain for the authorities, the businessman recently bought seven bags of cement to repair the roadway directly in front of his grocery shop and bar. Continuous rainfall has started to undermine the road surface just across from his business place, while a few metres away, the potholes continue to make life difficult for motorists and pedestrians alike.
The 69-year-old Aleppo native is confident that the $600 million Junction road rehabilitation programme announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness will redound to the JLP's benefit.
"The guy over there going to win the seat," Jahalal said, pointing to a poster of pharmacist Dr Norman Dunn, the returning JLP candidate who is going up against Dr Shane Alexis, the PNP candidate who is making his first foray into representative politics.
"The people them like Mr Dunn, and that is why they are going to vote for him. He is going to win the seat because with the government in power, the Junction project will make a big difference.
"Shane just come and he is not well known in politics although he's a doctor, but then this guy (Dunn) is here a couple years now campaigning. Him know everybody because him walk the places, the community, and so forth, and for him to come the first time and lose by five, he should have a better chance this time," the Aleppo native opined.
However, it is not a sure win for the JLP as the PNP has been working hard to convince Comrades who stayed away from the polls during the general elections to let their fingers do the talking this time around.
"It is not a walkover. I can tell you, this seat is not a walkover,' Jahalal said.