Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Ruddy Mathison, Gleaner Writer
Kurt Waul, a newcomer to representational politics, says he has the formula to defeat incumbent Jamaica Labour Party candidate Everald Warmington in St Catherine South West on September 3.
Born and raised in the constituency, Waul, a medical doctor, is attempting to achieve what no other People's National Party (PNP) representative before him has been able to do since Warmington first won the seat in 1980 and left for 20 years and returned to his winning streak in the 2007 general elections.
Describing himself as a son of the soil, Waul told The Gleaner that what will make the difference this time around is the connection he has established with the people, first working at the Spanish Town Hospital for six years and continuing with his private practice in Old Harbour.
"I have been on the ground connecting with the people of the constituency, doing philanthropic work, and listening to their concerns for over a year since I was elected constituency chairman for the party following the death of Comrade Mears," Waul said, referring to Rudyard Mears, who ran unsuccessfully against Warmington in 2016.
He alluded to incumbency fatigue, which he believes is affecting the three-term member of parliament who indicated last year that he would retire after a fourth win, at which time he would have completed over 50 years in politics.
"Apart from the genuine enthusiasm that my candidacy has been generating among the voters, especially the youths because I have brought hope and a new vision for what representation should be, there is also a very important factor that is proving to be a liability for my opponent. He has announced to the constituency that he plans to retire. South West St Catherine needs a representative who has no intention to leave, but to work tirelessly to improve the lives of the constituents," Waul said.
According to him, the overwhelming feeling among electors is that Warmington's reign has not benefited the constituency in any tangible way, with basic infrastructure being neglected.
"We have a gentleman who has been around for such a long time and has not focused on town planning, taking into consideration the many private developments coming to Old Harbour and the congestion that is created in the town."
Waul continued: "We have a health centre, which is the first point of call for residents with medical issues, and it has been neglected over the years even though the population has increased. The police station has outgrown its location and needs modernisation. There is also the need for at least one additional high school to absorb students from the eight primary schools who have to travel great distances, oftentimes out of the parish, to attend high school."
Another area of concern for Waul is the water situation in the constituency.
Warmington, known for his many controversies over the years, was targeted by the PNP in 2016 but managed to defeat the late Rudyard Mears by increasing his 2011 general election margin of 916 votes to 2,816.
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