'We want a young MP'

PNP supporters in St Mary South Eastern say next representative should have vision and education

BY KIMONE FRANCIS
Sunday Observer staff reporter
francisk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 20, 2017

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People's National Party (PNP) supporters in St Mary South Eastern are insisting that their next Member of Parliament must be young.

The demand comes days after Member of Parliament Dr Winston Green died suddenly while on his way to hospital after collapsing at his St Andrew home, sending shock waves across the country.

Praises were heaped on the late MP who had narrowly held on to the seat for the Opposition PNP in the February 2016 General Election, but constituents are adamant that a young person, equipped with “vision” and “smarts”, must next represent them in Parliament's Lower House. Green was 58.

If fate meets that demand, Dr Norman Dunn, who Green defeated by five votes following a magisterial recount in the February 2016 election, would have lost out on representing the constituency again. He is 51.

“We want a young, brilliant person with vision and education. We want somebody weh a go look out fi di youth dem,” Omar Chin told the Jamaica Observer last week. “Annotto Bay a one of di toughest communities inna Jamaica; a di worst town inna St Mary at the moment. It full of crime, violence, and whole heap of other things a happen here. Mi woulda like a MP weh a go come here and love di people dem. One weh a go do something fi di people, especially the youth dem. We naah talk bout nuh handout business.

“The person weh a come fi tek over Mr Green position, him affi mek another step above Mr Green. No disrespect to Mr Green, because as mi tell yuh, Mr Green a real boss. Mi nuh must right, but mi feel a younger person will think quicker and will have more vision and smarts. Experience good, but sometime nuff a di experience dem naah look out fi di youth dem. Me a 47 year old and a di youth dem me a deal with, dem a di future and Annotto Bay need future,” Chin argued.

Another constituent, Tavia Wilson, who considers herself “old”, said what the constituency needs are projects and programmes designed to push the development of young people. Wilson suggested that there isn't much opportunity being presented to them.

“We need one MP weh a fi di young and dem future. We can go one side, we old. We need community centres, so we want somebody weh young, somebody weh willing fi do something for the younger youths in the community. Not the same thing weh Dr Green woulda come wid; we want some projects. Give the youths dat. Mek dem be the ones weh don't participate, but give them the opportunity. We want somebody weh strong enough and deh behind the young people dem,” Wilson, who operates a cookshop in the constituency, said.

Several constituents said they are looking to the likes of Damion Crawford and Raymond Pryce for representation. The two represented the PNP in St Andrew East Rural and St Elizabeth North Eastern, respectively, before fizzling out of representational politics.

“Well, wah me believe inna, enuh, is Damion Crawford. Mi nuh know if dem a think fi put him somewhere else, but me prefer fi go with Damion Crawford or [Raymond] Pryce,” Keith Ormsby shared with the Sunday Observer.

“The next person must come and build up the constituency and help the young people dem achieve wah dem want. We want somebody young because we want dem put di young people dem first. We cyaan go tek nobody old right now, and we want somebody with a post inna Parliament. We nuh want just one MP; we want a minister,” Ormsby added.

For Leroy Grossett, the constituency does not possess the next Member of Parliament.

“Mi want a young man, a young stallion like Damion Crawford or Raymond Pryce. A dem youngster deh mi woulda love fi see 'round ya now. Mi nuh see nobody inna di constituency right ya now weh mi woulda seh fit for it. Only di councillor weh did inna di position and him lose, so wi nuh really waah go back deh so. We want somebody young and vibrant,” the man said.

The councillor he referred to is Kevin Golding, who lost to the Jamaica Labour Party's Bryan Hugh in the 2016 Local Government Elections. Golding polled 2,115 to Hugh's 2,471.

“We want Mr Crawford. We nuh want no idiot. Him level wid you straight and him nuh deal wid handouts. Annotto Bay people love him already so just send him make wi go full speed ahead. Nobody else nuh deh here fi manage it. Wi vote fi Dr Green because we love PNP party; that's why wi mek him go ahead. Wi sorry say him dead still,” Tadine Roberts, another constituent, said.

Judith Reid, who said that she has been voting since 1959, agreed with Wilson. She shared that Green's death “saddened” her, but noted that life and politics continue.

“We had Dr Green as a genuine Member of Parliament and wi feel it fi see how him drop out, but right now him gone and wi nuh want nuh idiot come around us. It affi be Damion [Crawford]. Him young and him will understand young people here. To how it a go, wi nuh want nobody fi come give we $500; wi want somebody weh a go help young people, because right now wi have a dangerous virus pon wi called the Jamaica Labour Party. We can't even get nothing 'pon TV but [Chinese],” the woman said.

The constituency is underdeveloped, Donovon Dwyer voiced. He believes that new businesses and investments are two of several solutions to long-standing problems there.

“My next Member of Parliament should be Chris Brown, if not, Damion Crawford. We want somebody weh nuh inna di handout; somebody weh will come and start business in the constituency and develop it. We want better roads and better facilities,” he said.

As a parliamentarian, Green served as a member of the Public Administration and Appropriation Committee.

His sudden death has increased the JLP's majority in the Lower House by four seats, as two other constituencies — St Andrew Southern and St Andrew South Western — are currently without representation.

St Andrew Southern was represented by Dr Omar Davies, who stepped down from representational politics in June this year, while Portia Simpson Miller, a former prime minister and PNP president, created a vacancy in St Andrew South Western when she, too, retired in June.

Executive members of the PNP, including President Dr Peter Phillips and General Secretary Julian Robinson, met with the party machinery in St Mary South Eastern last week to determine a suitable candidate for the imminent and crucial by-election.

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