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Family Of 15 Switches In Kingston Central, Dooming PNP

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Source: Jamaica Gleaner


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The tidal wave of green that swept across Jamaica on election day triggered a sea change in a once-rock-solid bastion of People’s National Party (PNP) support, with a family of 15 switching allegiance in a monumental political swing.

While Comrades expressed confidence early Thursday that standard-bearer Imani Duncan-Price would win the seat, supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Donovan Williams indicated that the PNP would lose its grip on the seat.

Alex, who voted for the PNP in the last election in 2016, said that he and his family of 15 was marching onwards to “prosperity”, the JLP’s popular slogan.

The 24-year-old said that he has been inspired by 48-year-old Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who has energised young voters. Alex said that Holness deserves a second term.

The young turncoat said that he was determined to break the PNP’s hold on the seat - and his family’s hearts.

“Me come from a PNP family, and me know say my mother underneath it, Granny, everybody underneath it, but me don’t have to go underneath it. Me can do my own thing,” he said.

The decision, he said, was spurred by raw pragmatism - a damning verdict on the legacy of just-retired Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites. He scored a hat-trick of wins, stretching back to 2007, with a margin of more than 1,000 votes.

“Mi voting for who can help me, but my mother realised and is who can help her son, she a help, so she a go help her son,” said Alex.

His 81-year old grandmother, along with the older members of his household, was among the first set of electors to cast their votes. The youngest of them is 21.

In the same breath, Ian, who has been a Comrade for 30 years, has flipped for the Labourites as the ground continues to shift under Duncan-Price’s feet. Ian has rallied for constituents to vote for Williams.

Ian believes that the PNP has been sleeping in comfort, and a new representative is needed on the ground.

“Mi no vote fi myself. Mi vote for the future. Mi already vote 30 years of ‘stuck way’, and mi want that fi change,” Ian said.

“Me vote for reasons and leader. I want to see what the next man can do to put him under pressure to prove himself.”

While there was orange confidence outside the polling station at Kingston Technical High, JLP supporters in Southside and Rae Town signalled that the writing was on the wall.

The JLP relies heavily on its support in the Rae Town division, which delivered for Robert Chin, Thwaites’ challenger, in the 2016 general election. Chin polled 2,494 votes to Thwaites’ 2,189.

Duncan-Price, who won the chairmanship of the constituency after Thwaites indicated that he was stepping aside, told The Gleaner on election day that her father, D.K. Duncan,was ailing with COVID-19,

“We were also grateful that so much of the work was done beforehand so we could almost take the baton and keep running with it to the victory line, and I look forward to telling him this evening that, in fact, we were victorious,” Duncan-Price said.

That celebration was spoilt by a party-crashing JLP on Thursday.

jonielle.daley@gleanerjm.com

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