Mon | Nov 12, 2018

Witter: I shall return

Published:Thursday | February 4, 2016 | 11:54 PM

Daraine Luton, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP's) Franklyn Witter has contested in four general elections in South East St Elizabeth and has only won one solitary time.

But the journeyman politician seems convinced he can improve his record to two from five in the February 25 general election.

"I sense the similar feeling that I sensed in 2007. We are going to bring home South East for the Jamaica Labour Party," Witter said at a meeting in Junction, St Elizabeth Thursday night.

Witter is up against the People's National Party (PNP's) Richard Parchment who unseated him in 2011.

"I feel we are going to win with a bigger margin than 2007," he said.

At that time, Witter won by 544 votes.

While Holness entered the town from the South, Audley Shaw attacked from the East with a similarly large motorcade which he led from Manchester.

The JLP is looking to go one better than it did in 2007 when it won three of the four seats in the parish.

The only seat that was not won was North East St Elizabeth, but with divisions in the PNP camp, the Labourites believe their candidate, Dr Saphire Longmore is in with a shot of beating newcomer, businessman Evan Redman.

The PNP currently holds all but one St Elizabeth seat - North West - which JC Hutchinson has had since 1997.

South East, won by the PNP's Richard Parchment by 970 votes and South West St Elizabeth, won by the PNP's Hugh Buchanan by 13 votes in 2011 are being targeted by the JLP.

The promised 6 pm start to the  meeting in Junction did not materialise which led the supporters who gathered to turn the event into a street dance.


Despite moderate rainfall in the area, the Labourites  remained rooted in the rain, dancing and singing 'Bye Bye Portia' and 'Roll Call'.

Junction is an important area for the JLP.

It is one of two divisions Witter won in his failed 2011 bid.

He beat Parchment by 248 votes in Junction and 691 in Southfield but lost heavily in Myersville, going down by 1,696  votes and by 213 in Malvern.

In 2007, when Witter won the seat, he took Junction by 505 votes, Southfield by 1,056 and Malvern by 19.

Witter, however, lost Myersville by 1036.

Witter said that Parchment does not live in the constituency and is not accessible to the people and does not suffer the inconvenience of drought and bad roads like the constituents.

"When you go into Comma Pen, you need a Bulldozer to take you on the road," said Witter as he outlined several roads that are in poor conditions.

"How can we have a Member of Parliament and we have such a neglect as it relates to maintaining the roads in the constituency?"