Can­di­dates fight for the hearts of Man­chioneal res­i­dents

Jamaica Gleaner - - SOCIAL - Ed­mond Campbell Se­nior Staff Re­porter

AN IN­TENSE race is on be­tween first-time coun­cil­lor can­di­date for the Ja­maica Labour Party (JLP) Paul Thomp­son and in­cum­bent Elaine Os­bourne for the Man­chioneal di­vi­sion in Port­land, with a win by ei­ther con­tender likely to de­ter­mine which side gains the as­cen­dancy at the Port­land Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion, which is cur­rently held by the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP).

The PNP won five of the nine di­vi­sions in Port­land in the 2012 par­ish coun­cil elec­tions, but the JLP is vow­ing to take con­trol in the November 28 polls.

The JLP won six di­vi­sions in the Fe­bru­ary 25 gen­eral elec­tion.

How­ever, Os­bourne, the sit­ting coun­cil­lor, is not per­turbed that the JLP re­ceived 49 more votes in the Man­chioneal di­vi­sion in Fe­bru­ary to over­turn the PNP’s 255 ma­jor­ity in 2012.

“I was born here, never slept out one night; if my peo­ple cry, I cry with them; if they laugh, I laugh, with them. I know their pain, I know ev­ery­thing about them, I am a son of the soil in Man­chioneal,” a spir­ited Os­bourne told The Gleaner.

HARD­EST-WORK­ING COUN­CIL­LOR

De­scrib­ing her­self as one of the hard­est­work­ing councillors the di­vi­sion has ever seen, Os­bourne listed among her achieve­ments the paving of eight parochial roads and the lob­by­ing of the Ru­ral Wa­ter Sup­ply Lim­ited to get piped wa­ter into the com­mu­ni­ties of Belle Cas­tle, Hain­ing and Scotts Run.

How­ever, Thomp­son has ac­cused his coun­ter­part of ne­glect­ing the con­cerns of res­i­dents in the di­vi­sion, not­ing that the roads are in dis­re­pair.

THOMP­SON

“The road to the Man­chioneal Health Cen­tre was in a de­plorable con­di­tion ... . Peo­ple who want to go to the health cen­tre, they have to park by the po­lice sta­tion, so I have de­cided to fix it out of my own pocket,” he told The Gleaner.

“Be­fore I de­cided to run, I was liv­ing like a coun­cil­lor, do­ing what a coun­cil­lor sup­posed to do, be­cause my fa­ther was a JLP coun­cil­lor.”

Asked why he was just throw­ing his hat in the ring, Thomp­son said there were per­sons be­fore him and “noth­ing hap­pens be­fore the time”.

When The Gleaner vis­ited Man­chioneal last week, Thomp­son’s sup­port­ers were singing his praises, hail­ing him as a “man for the peo­ple”. Soak­ing up the com­pli­ments, Thomp­son said: “Most of my friends are PNP, and this elec­tion is about friends and fam­ily, and they have proven what type of per­son I am al­ready so it was easy for them to make a de­ci­sion to vote for me be­cause I am a per­son who cares.” The other di­vi­sion in Port­land that could de­ter­mine which party con­trols the mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion in the par­ish is Bal­car­res, which the PNP won in the 2012 lo­cal govern­ment elec­tions. How­ever, in the Fe­bru­ary gen­eral elec­tions, the JLP re­ceived 166 more votes than the PNP.

OS­BOURNE

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