Party time - Vaz's emphatic win sparks street dance
Published: Wednesday | March 25, 2009
A JLP supporter celebrates Daryl Vaz's victory in Buff Bay. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Thousands of flag-waving and bell-ringing supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) from across the island thronged the narrow streets of Buff Bay, Portland, Monday night to celebrate by-election victory.
They were everywhere, perched on rooftops, occupying every inch of the small compact town square. There was no space for vehicular traffic. JLP candidate Daryl Vaz won the Western Portland poll by 2,289 votes over the People's National Party's (PNP) Kenneth Rowe.
Jubilant Labourites swelled into a sea of green, belting out party slogans shortly after polls closed at 5 p.m.
As counting began and preliminary results were aired, the momentum gathered. Horns honked, music blared and people danced in the streets.
The picturesque centuries-old St George's Anglican Church, a sentinel in the heart of the town, provided a backdrop for the party.
"We going to wash Kenneth Rowe and the PNP into the sea, it's all about work," commented Lorna Baker, conspicuous in green wig, which she said was ordered on the Internet for the occasion.
Baker, like many other diehard Labourites, travelled all the way from Black River, St Elizabeth, to support her party colleagues in West Portland.
"It better if the PNP had voted for Astor Black, than Kenneth Rowe," she quipped.
Delroy Reid and Richard Thompson journeyed from Kingston after work to join the celebration.
"It's a beautiful day and tonight is even going to be sweeter. We are going to party all night and head back to Kingston for work early in the morning," said Reid.
There is no doubt that Portlanders enjoy celebration of this nature. "We love it and we always come out and celebrate," said Vincent Shaw. "During the general election and the parish council election, it was just like this. No violence, just celebration," he added.
Lorna Baker, who travelled from St Elizabeth. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer