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'I can't lose' - Warmington not worried about boundary cut

Published:Sunday | March 14, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

EVERALD WARMINGTON boasts of having been sent to Gordon Hose by the constituents of South West St Catherine by one of the largest majorities.

The source of his comfort is a whopping 3,244 majority vote that he scored over the People's National Party's Dr Dennis Jones in the 2007 general election.

However, the realignment of boundaries to provide for an increase in the number of constituencies to 63 has seen 7,558 voters being transferred from his constituency to form one of the new St Catherine seats.

Party numbers indicate that the reduction in the size of the constituency could lower Warmington's majority to less than 2,000 vote.

However, Warmington insists that the objections he raised in Parliament Wednesday to the report of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ) on the realignment of constituency boundaries were not based on a fear that his seat could become marginal.

"I am not concerned about weakening or strengthening. If a member of parliament works, it will be rewarded at election time," Warmington told The Sunday Gleaner.

Warmington has lost a chunk of the Church Pen division, as well as the entire Sydenham division in the realignment of boundaries.

Sydenham, a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) stronghold, was won in the last local government election by a majority of 445. The division was also won by the JLP in the general election of that year. Then, 1,934 persons voted for Warmington and 971 for Jones, after 52 per cent of the 5,600 registered voters turned up to the polls.

Eyeing third term

In Church Pen, Warmington polled 2,537 votes to Jones' 1,831 in the general election. There were 7,985 registered voters in that seat, 1,502 of whom have been cut off and transferred to the new St Catherine seat.

But even with the realignment, Warmington says he is eyeing a third term as member of parliament.

"I won the first election with over 1,200 (in 2002), and I tripled that the last election. It has now been cut to under 1,600, but that does not bother me one bit. When it comes next election, I can't win with anything less than 2,500," Warmington said.

However, Warmington may have to find favour with the executive of the JLP, which will, on Monday, consider whether to reprimand him for his actions in Parliament on Wednesday.

Warmington walked out of Gordon House on Wednesday, a furious man after Speaker Delroy Chuck refused to allow for a divide on the report on the Electoral Commission of Jamaica.

Out of line

Karl Samuda, the party's general secretary, said Warmington was out of line and that his behaviour was "a departure from what is expected". Warmington, however, insists that the party cannot sanction him for his actions in Parliament. He also says that there is no strained relationship between him and the party.

He told The Sunday Gleaner that he had received widespread commendation for his actions in Parliament for his constituency, which has indicated it will stand with him.

Widely viewed as a rabble-rouser in Parliament, Warmington insists that he abides by the Standing Orders of the House.

"In Parliament, I may approach it in an unorthodox fashion, but every step that I take is within the Standing Orders," Warmington said.

Asked whether his behaviour was driving away his constituents, Warmington said no.

"They are proud of me. They say they have not sent an angel to Parliament. Everybody here knows me. I am here now 41 years and everybody knows what they were getting when they elected me."

"One of the things they say out here is 'him feisty, but him perform'. There is no MP who is accessible to their constituency as I am," Warmington added.