Fri | Aug 18, 2017

Young man breaks ranks with PNP family

Published:Wednesday | February 10, 2016 | 2:00 AM
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporter Kemar Ferguson in Annotto Bay, St Mary, on Nomination Day outside the office of JLP candidate for South East St Mary, Dr Norman Dunn.

Hundreds of supporters from both political parties lined the streets in Annotto Bay yesterday to show patronage for their respective candidates.

Traditionally, Annotto Bay is considered a People's National Party (PNP) stronghold. However, one young man from the area has broken ranks with his family by refusing to advocate for the return of outgoing incumbent Member of Parliament for South East St Mary Dr Winston Green.

Speaking during the nomination of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate Dr Norman Dunn, Kemar Ferguson, 29, told The Gleaner: "I joined the Prosperity team around the same time they introduced Mr Dunn - six or seven months ago.

"It has been very difficult for me. If you go and check my Facebook page, you will see that I've been getting a beating. Even my aunt in America has been saying, 'I didn't know I had a Labourite so close to the family,'" he said, laughing.

"But the fact is, I have a sister who had to run off on a visa because this place is so hard. Nobody wants to stay here, and yet people keep embracing the same Government that has kept the country stagnant for years and decades.

"I posted a picture [on Facebook] with me and Mr [Andrew] Holness on a community visit, and you wouldn't like to see the comments I received. I've never had comments on any of my previous pictures, and I've been on Facebook for five years!"

Ferguson, who is from Annotto Bay but lives in the neighbouring Broadgate, decided to break a longstanding family tradition and support the JLP after researching the last 40 years of Jamaica's political history.

He said: "I worked as a security guard for three years in the library at the University of the West Indies and was able to grasp some knowledge, do a lot of reading, and learn about the politics and policies of the 1970s and 1980s.

"One specific point I noticed when looking and comparing is that Edward Seaga's term as finance minister was the best Jamaica has ever seen. He kept inflation to a minimum for eight years, and when he left, the currency was doing well, but it jumped after a year, and is now trading at $120-odd for US$1.

"After doing all my research, I realised that although there is a diehard culture of PNP in my family, there is no reason for me to be a PNP. If I stand for what I believe in, this is the right team for me. I believe in growth, so whichever party can get the country to grow, that's who I support, and I say Labour is the best party for policies."

Ferguson added: "I've spoken personally with Dr Dunn and got to see the vision he has for the constituency, and that's what I think we've been missing down here for a long time - leaders with vision. My personal assessment is that our current MP is sitting in Parliament warming the bench and wasting our resources."

- Orantes Moore