Holness says Portland Eastern ready for change

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THE Jamaica Labour Party has won the Portland Eastern constituency three of 16 times in parliamentary elections.

Despite this, prime minister and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness is confident candidate Ann-Marie Vaz will become its next Member of Parliament (MP).

Speaking to journalists outside the Port Antonio courthouse in Portland last Friday when he made the declaration, Holness said his experience in politics has led him to that conclusion.

“[I can tell] by the energy that I feel, and I have been doing campaigns for over 20 years, I have a good eye for the details of the organisation, for the spirit and enthusiasm of the people, and good sense as to where the electorate will go. The sense that I am getting is that the electorate here is comfortable to change. So I am elated. I think we have an excellent chance of winning this election,” Holness said following the nomination of Vaz.

At the same time, Holness said comments made about Vaz’s skin colour were unfortunate and called on Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown to condemn them.

“As far as I am concerned we are all Jamaicans — Out of many one people. That is a low underhanded thing, and I think that using race to influence an election outcome should be condemned by the [political] ombudsman,” he said.

People’s National Party (PNP) candidate for the by-election Damion Crawford had effectively stated, during a PNP mass rally earlier this month, that his political contest with Vaz was a fight against class, history, and what he termed “the system”.

“I don’t want no animosity in this seat; even though it is a fight, it is not a physical fight. It is not a fight against Mrs Vaz, it is not a fight against Daryl Vaz, it is not a fight against the Jamaica Labour Party, it is not even a fight just for the seat. It is a fight against history, it is a fight against the system, and it is a fight for the future,” Crawford said.

“It is a fight against history because East Portland people say that they want tourism. I have a degree in tourism, I have a master’s in tourism, I lecture tourism, and yet still because of her class and colour some people say this lady is more qualified than me. That is history,” he said.

“East Portland people say they want education. I teach at high school, I teach at UCC, I teach at Excelsior Community College, I teach at University of the West Indies, but because of her class and colour they say this lady better than me,” he added.

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