'I am of the people and for the people'
Gareth Davis, Gleaner Writer
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
ELECTED FOR the first time in 1986, Dexter Rowland, People's National Party (PNP) candidate for the Port Antonio division, is seeking a sixth term at the Portland Parish Council.
Nicknamed 'Stepper' and also 'Mr Easy', Rowland was a staunch loyalist and supporter of the late PNP president and former Prime Minister Michael Manley who, he claimed, influenced his decision to enter representational politics.
"Come March 26, I will be re-elected for a sixth term," said Rowland. "I am of the people and for the people and, therefore, my performance over the years speaks for itself. I am councillor for supporters of the PNP, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), any other P or no P at all," Rowland told The Gleaner.
He added: "When I first became a councillor, it was rather challenging, as most residents had a variety of issues, including the need for piped water, electricity, road repairs, and land for housing, among others. But today, most of these demands have been met. However, I am still not fulfilled."
According to Rowland, when the PNP regains the Portland Parish Council, the sharing of monthly allocation will be revamped, as the way in which it was handled by the JLP administration leaves a lot to be desired.
Rowland claimed that it was the worst period of disbursement of funds in the history of the Portland Parish Council under the leadership of the JLP, as the allocations were disbursed along political lines.
Among the achievements listed by Rowland are forging housing solutions for residence at Norwich Heights, launch of the Greater Portland Loan Company to provide persons with access to loans, and the opening of the Youth Information Centre at Boundbrook in the parish.
The five-term councillor has served as deputy mayor twice, in 2003 and 2006, during the crossing of the floor by controversial councillor Benny White from the JLP to the PNP.
Rowland has predicted that the PNP will win four of the five seats in East Portland, and two in the West, which will see them gaining a majority of six seats to the JLP's three in the Portland Parish Council.
Rowland will face off with Clyde Mckenzie, a schoolteacher and newcomer.