‘It is not Terrelonge’s seat!’ - Region Chair Daley moving to paint St Catherine East Central, others orange
With the People’s National Party (PNP) buttressing the leadership of its national election campaign, it has placed special emphasis on retaking the constituency of St Catherine East Central, with Raymond Pryce leading the ticket.
The seat is currently represented by Alando Terrelonge, the state minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, who won the seat in 2016 by 479 votes.
But Denise Daley, chairman of the PNP’s Region Four, which includes St Catherine, has vowed that that seat will be counted in the winning column for the PNP and will help propel the party’s president, Dr Peter Phillips, to Jamaica House.
“It is not Terrelonge’s seat! We are going to take back what is our seat,” Daley asserted in an interview with The Gleaner.
The party has been pushing ahead with campaign activities as it anticipates an announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
The general election is due in early 2021, but many political pundits believe that Holness will toll the bell this year, even as the country moves to reopen industries as the coronavirus pandemic subsides here.
On the weekend, Peter Bunting was elevated to co-campaign director alongside Phillip Paulwell, a signal that the PNP is charting a united front after last September’s bitter internal leadership poll.
“We don’t just have a message. But the people of this country know very well that we practise what we preach. We can be trusted,” Daley declared.
“Raymond will win. Raymond is well known. And I am 100 per cent sure that the people in that constituency know when they see good representatives.”
Pryce, an ex-senator and former member of parliament for St Elizabeth North East, was parachuted into the seat as a prospective candidate in recent weeks after Dr Winston De La Haye quit in April after reportedly receiving death threats. De La Haye has not offered details on his resignation since retreating.
Daley said the PNP was not intimidated by the JLP’s aggressive push to snatch St Catherine South East, the seat occupied by Colin Fagan.
“I know that people feel, for different reasons, that their MPs might not live up to certain expectations, but they equally know that they can trust Colin Fagan and that his word is his bond,” she said.
The JLP has put up Robert Miller to challenge Fagan for the seat as complaints mount of poor infrastructure and lack of development in the constituency.
But Daley is banking on constituents to remember the housing benefits they received decades ago to be able to live in Portmore.
“When you give a person a shelter over their head and they know genuinely that if it were not for a certain policy, they would not have received, they will never be ungrateful,” she said.
Fagan has been winning the seat with reduced majorities over the past two general elections, managing to hold on to it by 395 votes in 2016.
As for St Catherine North East, where Oswest Senior-Smith will vie against the JLP’s Leslie Campbell, the region chairman said she was also confident of victory there. Campbell has recently taken flak over claims of inadequate investment in infrastructure.
“I strongly believe that he (Senior-Smith) is presenting himself to the citizens with a manifesto with a view to ensure that they carry it home, and, therefore, I believe he stands a very good chance,” Daley said.
Campbell, a first-time MP, won the seat by 121 votes in 2016.