Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Rejuvenated green-clad supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in St Elizabeth North East are brimming with excitement that their candidate, Delroy Slowley will prevail over Basil Waite of the People’s National Party (PNP) in the September 3 general elections. Slowley is promising to pave the way to better days after what he says is more than 30 years of poor representation by the PNP.
According to Winston Myles, a senior party worker for the JLP in St Elizabeth North East, this election will swing in a manner similar to the 1980 landslide victory by then party leader Edward Seaga.
“This time around, Mr Slowley is going to give Basil Waite a political whipping, similar to that of 1980. We are going to beat him and teach him,” Myles told The Gleaner on Sunday before joining Andrew Holness, leader of the JLP and prime minister, on a drive-through campaign of the constituency.
“He will be left waiting for a very long time when the polls are closed on election day,” Slowley said of his opponent. “I can feel it. We have never been so high-spirited in this constituency for a long time.”
Speaking with The Gleaner, Slowley said he is determined to end the political stagnation of the People’s ‘National Party in this election and that he is confident of winning the seat for the JLP.
“We have done our canvass and I am happy to tell you that we are safely ahead. Our base is energised and motivated to come out and vote,” Slowley, who ran as an independent candidate in 2016, said.
The contender said that dormant Labourites have come back on board with a view to ending the PNP’s reign.
“Incidentally, there are a lot of PNP that are working with me because I don’t believe that the winner takes it all. The people of North East St Elizabeth understand that I am an all-inclusive person. I work in PNP communities, fixing roads; wherever the needs are, I get the job done,” the former independent candidate said.
Annette Love, a polling division captain in Santa Cruz area of the constituency, said Slowley is the best candidate that the JLP has ever put forward as its prospective member of parliament.
“He is a man of action, and his work on the ground as a businessman makes him more accessible. Slowley is active in the community and has helped to energise the JLP voters in the polling division,” said Love.
“Over the years, although we would come out winning the polling division and the wider Santa Cruz division, many JLP supporters would stay home, saying that they are not voting as their votes would be wasted, “she said.
However, Audie Myers, councillor for the Siloah division and campaign manager for Basil Waite, has rubbished claims made by the JLP supporters discrediting his party’s stewardship of the constituency in the last 31 years.
“Firstly, our candidate is waiting on September 3, where the people of this wonderful constituency will usher him into Gordon House as the next member of parliament,” Myers said of his political charge, Waite.
Myers said that St Elizabeth North East is not a battleground seat, vowing that the PNP will emerge a resounding victor with a margin of at least 3,500 votes.
“We are not battling for this seat. We have an excellent candidate in Basil Waite. We will win the seat handsomely,” Myers insisted.
Myers said Waite will be following in the rich tradition of former members of parliament Sydney Fagan, Roger Clarke, Kern Spencer, Raymond Pryce and Evon Redman, who have served with distinction in the constituency.
“Waite has done a lot in his position as caretaker, and he is eagerly waiting to do much more as the next MP, “ he continued.
Myers said that the JLP had little to show for its control of the constituency between 1980 and 1989.
Valdino Spence, JLP constituency secretary for St Elizabeth North East, said the party has come alive and is leading the PNP, based on his canvass.
“We lost the seat in 2016 simply because our candidate came in six weeks before the election, and even then we were able to secure 6,200 votes, cutting the margin of defeat from 4,000 to 1,500,” Spence told The Gleaner.
“The base of the Labour Party believes we can win,” Spence added.
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