Dayton dumped - Lee sinks Campbell in St Ann NW
The Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP’s) Krystal Lee knocked the wind out of the sails of bombastic People’s National Party (PNP) incumbent Dr Dayton Campbell with a decisive victory in St Ann North Western.
Campbell, a two-term member of parliament, saw his dreams of heading to Gordon House a third time dashed with Lee securing 7,821 votes to his 5,783 as independent candidate Peter Shand secured 783 votes.
Lee’s win helped the JLP romp to a landslide victory of 49 seats to the PNP’s 14.
Lee, the councillor for the Retreat division in St Mary, rode on the popularity of JLP leader Andrew Holness to pull off a stunning victory, one she said was not a surprise.
“It was expected. I was saying what the comment was on the ground. I’ve been saying what the people were saying, but others chose to believe otherwise,” Lee told The Gleaner last night shortly after being declared the winner at the end of the preliminary counting of ballots.
Trouble began brewing for Campbell when Shand, a long-time PNP supporter, declared that he would be breaking with tradition to challenge Campbell for the seat. Party insiders began to worry that the move could split Campbell’s votes, paving the way for Lee to take the seat.
But even with Shand’s numbers, Campbell would still have lost by a country mile last night.
“It shows that even with the independent candidate, the margin is clear. The people want a change, and they want the JLP and Krystal Lee and Andrew Michael Holness to lead them and bring that better change for North West St Ann, as I’ve been saying,” she said.
Lee said that her focus will be on water, roads, education, and job creation.
“In this day and age, I believe that every household should have potable water,” she said, adding that the constituents “should have proper roads that they can drive on, so I’m going to have to do a lot of work in my first term, and I’m ready to begin the work”.
She said, “I’m ready to ensure that our young people have equal opportunity to get a job, to get educated and move on and improve their lives.”
Fourth JLP win
Lee’s victory in St Ann North Western marks the fourth time that the JLP is taking the seat since it was created in 1959. Prior to yesterday, the PNP had won 10 times to the JLP’s three.
Campbell, who campaigned under the slogan ‘The Power of the Dream’, based his campaign on his work over two terms in areas such as education, health, community development, and self-employment, among others.
The Gleaner was unable to reach Campbell or Shand last night for comment.
Shand’s distant third-place showing reflected a long-standing tradition in Jamaica, where third-party/independent candidates are accorded little or no chance of winning a seat in an election. Despite this, his 783 votes tower over the support given to previous such candidates in the seat, including the National Democratic Movement’s Graham McDonnough Jr’s total of 13 in 2016.