Comrades block road on Gammon - JLP pick says threatened with stick in Havana Heights by PNP supporters
Olivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) presumptive candidate for Clarendon South Western, Kent Gammon, has lambasted People’s National Party (PNP) supporters who reportedly blocked a road and denied him entry to their community on Saturday afternoon.
Gammon said his team was barred from entering Havana Heights — a PNP stronghold — by what he described as a hostile group of residents clad in orange who placed debris in the road amid spirited chanting that he was not welcome. The attorney-at-law claims that an attempt was made to physically attack him.
“I said, ‘I’m just driving through; I just want to meet with the people.’ The residents were very hostile, and one of them took a stick to hit me,” Gammon said when a Gleaner news team caught up with him on his tour through York Town on Saturday evening.
“Luckily, I had someone with me who basically had to restrain them.”
Gammon said that he reported the incident to the May Pen police and that he will formally advise the political ombudsman, Donna Parchment Brown, on Monday.
He believes that the residents’ actions are proof that the PNP is fearful of losing its grip on the central Jamaica constituency in the September 3 polls.
“I think they’re running scared because the Jamaica Labour Party is going to win South West Clarendon. I am a little bit disappointed that this is the kind of politics that the People’s National Party seems to be practising among their supporters because I do not see it as something spontaneous. It was clearly organised …, clearly orchestrated,” he said, noting that the tour had been announced days before.
“We want a peaceful campaign. ... It is the democratic right of the candidate to go through any area in South West Clarendon, and that is my prerogative ... . I will not be stopped.”
Gammon lost the 2016 general election race by a margin of 1,788 votes to the incumbent Noel Arscott. Gammon garnered 43.94 per cent of the votes.
Gammon will be contesting a newcomer, the PNP’s Lothan Cousins, whom he says would only extend the PNP’s legacy of poor representation.
“My opponent has nothing new to offer but the same neglect …, same deprivation. The opponent hasn’t offered the people anything different,” he said.
Calls to PNP candidate Lothian Cousins ran without answer on Sunday, and Julian Robinson, the PNP’s general secretary, declined comment because he was unaware of the incident.
Noel Arscott, the former member of parliament for Clarendon South Western, was cautious in his comments.
“Neither myself nor Mr Cousins, nor any of the leadership were in the area at the time when this incident occurred. I can’t say whether there were provocations that sparked it,” said Arscott.