A friendship greater than politics
THE FRIENDSHIP between Lloyd Wilson and Radcliffe Briscoe was just as obvious as their political preferences when the two exited the Christian Pen Basic School in Portmore, St Catherine, on Monday, after casting ballots in the local government elections.
Wearing a green T-shirt, green cap above eyeglasses with green frames, as well as a green watch band, Wilson was evidently in favour of Joy ‘Bella’ Brown, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate who was going up against councillor Oral Gunning of the People’s National Party (PNP). Bianca, his three-year-old daughter, was also wearing green-rimmed glasses, green hair clips and a pair of green shorts.
Briscoe, in an orange T-shirt, cap and sneakers, was showing his support for the PNP candidate.
Chatting as they left the polling centre, the colourful duo made a curious sight and caught the attention of The Gleaner news team, which pressed them about the close association, despite their political differences. Briscoe was quick to answer. “We grow this way. You see politics inna Christian Pen and Gregory Park, we deal with it pon a different nature. We nuh inna the violence thing and no ‘just come’ nor ‘importee’ can’t come ya come mash up we ting, because anno so we set it. Ah love and unity we say. Him ah me neighbour – me an him close. We play ball together, we work together, eat together, drink together. If him have a dollar and me want it, ah my own, and likewise. Ah so we live!” Wilson chimed in: “And nutten can’t change that.” Briscoe continued: “And we grow we youth them way deh, ‘cause we grow come see the elders them a deal with it that way. So we nuh deal with the badness thing – a life we seh.”
Added Wilson: “And we nuh fight. Ah just straight love and respect right through, nutten nuh change.”
Both men, who live in Christian Pen, grew under similar circumstances and share a lifelong friendship, but see politics through different coloured lenses.
“Bella me say,” Wilson declared. “All a my family green, so me just take the tradition. Me is green and nothing nah change that. I just like a colour and I just vote green,” he said with conviction.
“Gunning know the runnings,” Briscoe said in support of his candidate, going on to explain why he opted to support the PNP.
“Me come from both green and orange... and the orange more positive. Mr Gunning is on the ground for the people them. You can call pon him any time. Him nuh put nuh lock pon him gate and ah whole heap a infrastructure him put in, whole heap a things deh yah fi show”
However, most of the voters in the Gregory Park division who turned out on Monday did not share Briscoe’s view, with 1,766 of them voting for Brown, who unseated Gunning, who got 1,102 votes, with 145 votes going to independent candidate Gregory Hamilton.
Wilson admitted that while little Bianca was wearing “her father’s colours”, he would not try to directly influence her eventual choice of political party.
“When she grow up, her decision is hers. I’m not gonna tell her what to do!” JLP supporter Lloyd Wilson (right) and his good friend Radcliffe Briscoe, a PNP supporter, showed strong unity shortly after they voted at the Christian Pen Basic School in Portmore, St Catherine, on Monday.