Wed | Mar 21, 2018

East Portland PNP safe seat only recently

Published:Wednesday | November 4, 2015 | 12:00 AMTHE EDITOR, Sir:

I refer to Gareth Davis Sr's interesting piece in The Sunday Gleaner of October 25 regarding Derron Wood as the new Jamaica Labour Party candidate in East Portland for the next election. The article was, unfortunately, marred by a glaring error.

Stating that "East Portland has been a traditional stronghold for the People's National Party (pNP) with the exception of 1980 when the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Anthony Abrahams defeated the PNP's Keith Rhodd" is simply not true.

With a political history that goes all the way back to 1944 as one of the first 32 seats created for the first general election under adult suffrage, east Portland only became a safe PNP seat since Sam Lawrence's first victory there in 1989. Prior to 1989, it was virtually neck-and-neck representation between both JLP and PNP throughout the eight general elections that followed the initial two-term tenure of the late, great independent member, Sir Harold E. Allan (1944-1953).

During that period, the seat was held by four JLP members (Ken Jones, Clement Afflick, Anthony Abrahams and Gerald Tucker) for a total of 17 1/2 years, and by three People's National Party members (T. Adrian Gray, Ken Wright and Keith Rhodd) for a total of just over 18 years.

Perhaps the most refreshing aspect of the report is that, finally, a JLP candidate with some hint of political dynamism has emerged.

But while the political route from Burlington to Hector's River is not an easy road for any JLP candidate, Wood might well have to knock on wood to enhance his chances in a seat so dominated by the PNP over the last 26 years.