Fri | Nov 24, 2017

Labourites eye upsets over confident comrades - backers aplenty on both sides for nomination exercise

Published:Tuesday | October 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines
Victor Hyde, the Jamaica Labour Party's pick to snatch South West St Andrew, is seen here with fellow Labourite Desmond McKenzie and other supporters at the nomination centre on Spanish Town Road, yesterday.
The People's National Party's Angela Brown Burke with supporters, on Nomination Day.
Mark Golding with party supporters in Avon Park before making their way to the Nomination centre at St Luke's Anglican Church.
Dane Dennis of the Jamaica Labour Party with party supporters at the Nomination centre at St Luke's Anglican Church.
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The tale of the tape for the Corporate Area nomination process yesterday was one of bold predictions of upsets versus cautious optimism of comfortable victories.

There was the usual colourful fanfare as the four candidates from the two major political parties each officially began the race to take a seat for the first time in the House of Representatives.

Hundreds of backers from both sides of the divide lined roadways in the carnival-like atmosphere synonymous with elections.

Up to bat first was the People's National Party (PNP) South St Andrew standard-bearer Mark Golding, who reasoned that while he does not expect a closely fought by-election, he's not treating the October 30 polls as a formality.

 

Expect strong turnout

 

Speaking with The Gleaner at the constituency office along Avon Park Road, the now former opposition senator argued that he has been working in the interest of the constituents and that, coupled with past voting patterns, should guarantee a strong turnout come October 30.

However, his opposite number, the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dane Dennis countered by stating that Golding wasn't aware of the issues facing the people and was just a mere "poster boy".

"I'm into employment, street lights and so on, things that the people actually want, I'm no poster boy," he told The Gleaner, while indicating that his throng of supporters that converged at the St Luke's Anglican Church in Cross Roads was a signal of intent and possible JLP triumph.

It's not about promises, it's a mission - Hyde

In South West St Andrew, the seat vacated by former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, her replacement, Angela Brown Burke, scoffed at claims that the JLP could create an upset in the PNP stronghold, describing the notion as "far from reality".

"There are many who dream then there are those who have nightmares. We're just working with the reality, and the reality we know is far from what he's describing," said Brown Burke after being nominated at the Electoral Office of Jamaica along Spanish Town Road.

Shortly afterwards, her counterpart, the JLP's Victor Hyde, parried, declaring that it is high time for the party to reclaim the constituency it has not held since 1989 and address the social ills affecting its communities.

"This constituency was the strongest Jamaica Labour Party constituency years ago, and now is the time for it to come back home. Walking through the constituency, it is heart rending to see the sufferation, unemployment level, high crime rate and homelessness. So, I'm here to work with the people as this election is not about promises, it's a mission," declared Hyde, who is making his third attempt to win the seat.