Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Babsy confident, opponent upbeat about chances

Published:Thursday | February 11, 2016 | 2:50 AMChristopher Serju
Supporters of Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, member of parliament for St Catherine Central, were out in their numbers on Tuesday.

A waste of time and money by Norris Grant is how Olivia 'Babsy' Grange characterised the challenge from the People's National Party candidate for the St Catherine Central constituency, during Tuesday's nomination exercise.

With a huge turnout of jubilant supporters accompanied by a van which blasted party songs, the incumbent member of parliament said she had not put any great efforts into rallying the troops.

"We deliberately did not mobilise the entire constituency, we did not because it would have been chaos," she told The Gleaner. "But we brought numbers representative of each division and I'm looking for a large turnout of voters where we will let our opponent lose his deposit. So today is a good day, I've got a very good turnout."

However, Grant, who won the Crescent division in St Catherine on a Jamaica Labour Party ticket in 2003 and was replaced by Althea Tomlinson in 2007, told The Gleaner that those numbers lie.

"If you should do a poll in Spanish Town, I don't think you would be able to find a hundred persons that are satisfied with the performance from their current member of parliament, Ms Babsy Grange. Even in her strongest hold, the people are not satisfied, and as you go around you will see the degradation and the people will explain," he shared, after completing nomination proceedings by 10:20, well in advance of Grange's arrival.

However, the Jamaica Labour Party stalwart, who, ironically brought Grant into representational politics, described him as an opportunist and explained why she would retain the seat.

"He is an opportunist, sometimes PNP, sometimes JLP. He probably just wants to be in the limelight. We are happy today. We are looking forward to victory not just in my constituency but victory for the entire Jamaica Labour Party. Everybody wants prosperity, nobody wants to remain poor, and so the Jamaica Labour Party says that all Jamaica should work towards moving people from poverty to prosperity and it's a partnership. We're gonna work with everybody, from all levels of the society, all age groups - partnership in prosperity."

Meanwhile, the PNP candidate was confident of topping his former political mentor at the polls this month with help from her supporters.

"I think we are on the same slate. We are on a level playing field and I think this time around I'll be successful because the Central St Catherine constituency has not benefited from the presence, or I should say the absence, of our sitting member of parliament. So I think this time around, those that can't make the X for me as their Comrade, I hope that they will stay home and they will benefit nonetheless."