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David vs Goliath ... PNP West Portland aspirant vows victory over Vaz

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2016 | 1:00 PM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Vernon Hemmings, the man who is said to have the Jamaica Labour Party's Daryl Vaz on the defensive in West Portland has painted himself "a David" who will topple Goliath.

"The Comrades of west Portland are not in fear of this Goliath. Your servant will fight him to the very end," Hemmings said.

The educator and businessman who is one of 21 first timers on the People's National Party (PNP) slate, spoke on behalf of Region Two, which comprises St Thomas, Portland and St Mary.

Vaz won the seat by 829 votes in 2011, down from 944 in 2007.

The PNP held West Portland through Errol Ennis between 1989 and 2007.

Hemmings, however, did not spend much time talking about his prospects. Instead he seemingly read from the brief of former health minister Dr Fenton Ferguson.

Another first timer, Imani Duncan Price, who is running in East Rural St Andrew, likened Jamaica to rough river and said it would be foolhardy to turn back now.

"Portia haffi row the boat to the shore," she said.

"We have built the economic foundations to go the distance," she said while adding that it is important the PNP get a second term.

Meanwhile, in another public show of unity, Dr Dayton Campbell and Lisa Hanna stood side by side at the PNP mass meeting in Half-Way Tree.

Campbell had unleashed a verbal onslaught on Hanna last year.

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At the time, the Region One chairman was under pressure from within her constituency to remain on the PNP ticket.

Campbell sided with the three South East St Ann councillors who wanted to see her back.

Today, the North West St Ann MP did not mention the conflict but instead focused on a fight with him and the JLP for the 'Poverty to Prosperity' slogan.

He said, however, that the JLP cannot steal the methodology to bring prosperity to Jamaica.

That method, he said, involves improving the economy and the education system.

Campbell told undecided and frustrated people: "Don't try to justify your present apathy with your past disappointment".