In­de­pen­dent can­di­dates have strong show­ing in the west

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Adrian Frater News Editor

WESTERN BUREAU: THE BAT­TLE for con­trol of western Ja­maica’s five mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions (for­merly parish coun­cils) got into full mo­tion yes­ter­day with both the rul­ing Ja­maica Labour Party (JLP) and the Op­po­si­tion Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) nom­i­nat­ing their full slate of can­di­dates in the 62 di­vi­sions across the re­gion.

While the process went fairly smoothly in Trelawny, St James, West­more­land, and St El­iz­a­beth, the sit­u­a­tion in Hanover was rather un­usual as eight in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates, mostly de­fec­tors from the PNP, were nom­i­nated amid much fan­fare.

“The in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates, who are all from western Hanover, are the ones gen­er­at­ing most of the ex­cite­ment,” said Craig Oates, East­ern Hanover rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the PNP’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil. “It is al­most an open re­bel­lion against Ian Hayles, the mem­ber of par­lia­ment and chair­man of the PNP’s Re­gion Six. The lead­er­ship of the PNP needs to ad­dress the dis­con­tent, or dark days are ahead for the party in this con­stituency.”

Of the to­tal num­ber of can­di­dates vy­ing for seats in the Hanover, eight are women.

WELL-OR­GAN­ISED CAN­DI­DATES

In St James, the epi­cen­tre of the re­gion’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape, JLP and PNP can­di­dates looked well or­gan­ised on the ground. While the PNP, which is de­fend­ing a 13-4 ma­jor­ity, ap­peared cau­tiously op­ti­mistic, the JLP was bub­bling with con­fi­dence that they would gain power.

“We are very con­fi­dent. The coun­try is in a pos­i­tive mood at this time. The econ­omy is grow­ing and there is a sense of di­rec­tion in the coun­try,” said Dr Ho­race Chang, the JLP’s gen­eral sec­re­tary and mem­ber of par­lia­ment for North West St James. “We be­lieve the en­thu­si­asm that is out there will carry us through this elec­tion.”

Chang said that he ex­pected four of the five mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tions – Trelawny, St James, Hanover, and St El­iz­a­beth – would fall into the hands of the JLP.

“While we did very well in the gen­eral elec­tion ear­lier this year, we are not tak­ing any­thing for granted,” said Chang.

Ras As­tor Black of the Ja­maica Al­liance Move­ment, who has be­come a fix­ture on the lo­cal po­lit­i­cal land­scape, will again be on the bal­lot. This time, he will be con­test­ing the Wel­come Hall divi­sion in South­ern St James.

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