Targeted PNP St Elizabeth MPs vow to retain seats
There are two constituencies in St Elizabeth that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) believes it must win in order to remove the People's National Party (PNP) from the Government in the next general election.
But the Members of Parliament for those constituencies — Hugh Buchanan in South West and Richard Parchment in South East — speaking at a PNP rally in Black River on Sunday, said the JLP should forget about those seats.
Despite one speaker having quipped that Floyd Green — Buchanan's challenger in South West St Elizabeth — is so fragile that he wears the tag "handle with care" the incumbent has promised to beat him and chase him out of town.
"When Donald Buchanan was the Member of Parliament for South West St Elizabeth him get the one Labourite to beat every time. Now as I beat dem, dem run," Hugh said.
Donald Buchanan was Hugh's father.
He beat the JLP's Derrick Sangster in four consecutive elections from 1989 to 2002.
By beating Dr Christopher Tufton by 13 votes for the seat in 2011, Hugh Buchanan made a better political start than his late father, who was hammered in his first parliamentary contest in 1980.
In that election, Derrick Sangster polled 8,555 votes to beat Donald Buchanan who got 5,535.
In 2011, Tufton dropped 459 votes from his 2007 numbers polling 9,440, while Buchanan's 9,453 was 1,379 more than the PNP got in the previous election.
"Green is going to run after the next general election and I will face another one. And I will face another one and beat another one, face another one, beat another one, face another one, beat another one and continue beat Labourites' backside until they realise who is the one MP for South West St Elizabeth," Buchanan said Sunday night.
Despite ominous predictions that he will lose to Green, Buchanan told supporters not to worry because throughout his life he has always been the dark horse.
"What is important to me is that you believe we will be standing firm in the second term with Hugh Buchanan as your Member of Parliament.
"I will not tell them that I am David that slew Goliath," he said in reference to his win over Tufton who was at the time a high profile cabinet minister.
"I did not do what was done in 2011 by myself. I have a strong organisation here in South West St Elizabeth. We have a strong team that has won elections after election. We have won five out of the last six general elections and we are going to win another one whenever Portia Simpson Miller calls the next general elections," Buchanan said.
The younger Buchanan was not the only one talking big Sunday night.
His cousin, Luther Buchanan, PNP deputy general secretary, said that South West St Elizabeth is not a JLP bastion.
"Danny Buck held it for four terms and Tufton couldn't hold on for a full term," Luther said.
Meanwhile, Parchment, who won by 970 votes said South East St Elizabeth is firmly behind the PNP.
"They say they targeting South East St Elizabeth. They say they have to win South East St Elizabeth to form government. But if they go National Heroes Park and bring back (Alexander) Bustamante, South East St Elizabeth will remain in the columns of the PNP," Parchment said.