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On the corner: In Kingston Central, JLP supporters plan to teach Thwaites a lesson

Published:Thursday | November 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) enthusiasts in the Central Kingston constituency are adamant that the sitting member of Parliament, Ronald Thwaites, of the People's National Party (PNP) must go, and they are quietly optimistic that the little-known Robert Chin is the man to do it.

"The people should vote for Mr Chin, not knowing him, not knowing what he is capable of doing because they know the MP (Thwaites), and he is doing nothing," argued former councillor Rosalie Hamilton as she and other JLP supporters chatted with The Gleaner team On The Corner on Gold Street.

"He has been the MP for three terms and has made no difference in the constituency. We have to start voting for performance and stop voting for people because voting for people is only helping them and their family. We give them a salary; we allow them to live big; and we a suffer. we have to move away from that."

Hamilton was defeated by Thwaites, who won by 2,108 votes in the 2011 general election, but fellow Labourite Orlando Walters contends that a great deal has changed since then.

"When Mr Thwaites won by 2,000 votes the last election, we were uneducated. now we are educated. now we know what we want," said Walters.

"And it is not just us. you have a lot of Mr Thwaites' people - his supporters - who know that they (the PNP) are not doing anything and they (PNP supporters) are getting educated themselves."

The 43-year-old Chin has been a member of the Jamaica Labour Party since 2006 and served on the management team of both St Andrew North East and Portland East constituencies. He also served as a vice-president of Generation 2000.

"Personally, I am trying to get to know him," Tanisha Morais admitted. "I will see what he is made of. I will see if he can make a difference to our community, to our country, so I will definitely give him a chance."


Not totally new


But, according to Walters, the man seeking to unseat Thwaites is not totally new to the constituency as he expressed an interest in being the JLP's candidate for the area in 2011.

"He tried to make an attempt at the time to become the candidate ... so people know Mr Chin, and he has always been around," said Walters.

"Yes, he came in a little bit late, with a month to go, but people will vote for him because he has a good charisma and he means people well. He has come in, and he has an office he sits in during the days, and people come and meet him, and he walks certain communities. He doesn't get around to everybody as yet but is one of him," added Walters.

Damion Williams conceded, however, that it will be difficult for Chin to oust Thwaites, but he is encouraging his fellow JLP supporters to come out in their numbers and at least send a message that there is discontent.

"To be realistic, it a go hard, but we as the JLP supporters, we a go vote and vote for Mr Chin, just to send a message to Ronnie Thwaites say, 'Come, it is time for you to pull up your sleeves and do something for the community'," said Williams.

Shane Buchanan agreed with Williams as he added: "It is a PNP stronghold area, but I believe Mr Chin will get the support of the people and even in Mr Thwaites' stronghold."

For Walters, voters in Kingston Central should not just compare the candidates when deciding who to vote for, but should look at which party would better run the country.

"The thing about it is not just Mr Chin people going to vote for. they are going to vote for the Jamaica Labour Party because they are the better party," Walters reasoned.

"That is what people are supposed to start to do now and hold the Jamaica Labour Party accountable if Mr Chin doesn't do what he is supposed to do. So when you are going to vote, don't just think about Mr Chin and not knowing him. think about the Jamaica Labour Party and the leadership that it is going to bring for you," said Walters.