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Battle of the 'BAR' - Alando takes aim at Arnaldo

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2016 | 2:00 AMBarbara Ellington
Alando Terrelonge, Jamaica Labour Party candidate for St Catherine East Central constituency.
Terrelonge
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His roots sprang in Lawrence Tavern, rural St Andrew, and later spread to inner-city Grant's Pen.

His mother was a higgler and his father a policeman-turned bus operator. Both placed special emphasis on education for their four children, so it was no surprise that Alando Terrelonge made the grades required for Campion College.

He has a brother, who is a doctor, and two sisters - one an accountant and the other a public relations consultant.

Terrelonge, who is trying to unseat the People's National Party's (PNP), Arnaldo Brown in St Catherine East Central, says he is perfectly positioned to demonstrate to the youth in his constituency how through education, their humble beginnings can lead to the achievement of their goals.

He has practised law for 16 years, but Terrelonge revealed that from his teen years, he has wanted to serve his country.

 

DIPLOMATIC DREAM

 

After high school, he received his law degree from the University of the West Indies, followed by a Master's degree in international relations from the University of Warwick, England.

"I wanted to become a diplomat, so that I could travel the world to represent and sell Jamaica abroad. I even studied French and Spanish towards that dream, but I opted for law instead."

According to Terrelonge, for the last 18 months, he has walked the streets of the constituency, and he has spoken at length about cutting government waste, skills training, growing the economy and creating jobs - the four areas he will prioritise if elected.

He pointed to Cuba, where there is a mandatory military service for youth, adding that this is something he strongly encourages for Jamaicans.

"I would love to see something similar here, especially for youth who leave high school, are unemployed, have no place in tertiary institutions, roam the streets, or turn to crime."

According to Terrelonge, he would like to see young people between ages 18 and 20 do mandatory military apprenticeship programmes with emphasis on discipline and respect for authority.

 

POLITICAL VIEWS

 

Speaking candidly about his views, he said the PNP and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) are not the same.

"We want to return the power to the people, so if you are uncommitted, go out and vote to change things. Put yourselves in a position to hold us all accountable."

Expressing his support for term limits, Terrelonge said politicians ought to have a retirement age, too.

"At some point, we must relinquish the reins of power and allow for a positive and prosperous succession plan."

The first-time entrant to the political arena and father of two infant sons said he decided to enter the fray because "Jamaica needs a change. We cannot all sit and talk, some of us have to make a difference. Plus, I am a beneficiary of the progressive policies of the 1980s JLP under Edward Seaga, and I see our party as the most progressive in the Caribbean".

"I remember the '70s when the business classes had to leave Jamaica, the rapid devaluation of our dollar, and the destruction of the economy in the '90s. These are among my many reasons for supporting the JLP," Terrelonge said.

He cites lack of adequate roads and perennial zinc fences, no community centres, no public hospitals, along with joblessness among the list of priorities he will address if elected.

"After decades of PNP domination, communities like Newlands, Caymanas Gardens and Gregory Park, which have been branded JLP, are still abandoned, so I am asking: Where is the progress?"

Terrelonge, who says he hopes to replicate what Delroy Chuck has done to improve conditions in the constituency in which he grew up, cites crime as another factor mitigating against progress.

"If we fixed the economy, we would have more jobs; Jamaica has one of the highest crime rates in the world, but for decades, the PNP has mismanaged the resources and spent millions that could have gone into areas with more lasting benefits to the nation," he noted.

barbara.ellington@gleanerjm.com