'Get ready'

'Get ready'

Chang urges Labourites to gear up for general election

Observer writer

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

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LUCEA, Hanover — General secretary for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr Horace Chang, on Sunday urged supporters in the party's Area Council Four to get ready for the next general election.

“I want you to understand, get ready. I don't want when my party leader [Andrew Holness] calls me, I have to say, 'Hold on a little bit boss'. This party leader has a good sense of timing what is right and when to do it,“ Dr Chang told Labourites.

“We have a party leader who has that connection with the people of Jamaica to know when it is right to move. What you don't want to have is that when he touch[es] the button or starts [to] ring the bell, some houses not ready. So we [are] getting ready for the finalising events to ensure that you are settled and have your workers in place… indoor agents in place, have outdoor agents trained and ready, have cluster supervisors, managers and runners ready,” he continued.

The meeting was held at Rusea's High School in the constituency of Hanover Western. Area Council Four comprises the parishes of Hanover, St James, Trelawny, Westmoreland, and St Elizabeth, where there are 16 parliamentary seats.

In the 2016 General Election, JLP won nine of those seats — Trelawny Southern, St James East Central, St James North Western, St James West Central, St James Central, Hanover Eastern, St Elizabeth South Western, St Elizabeth North Western, and St Elizabeth South Eastern, while the People's National Party won the remaining seven.

Meanwhile, Holness served notice that the parish of Westmoreland, which has been referred to as 'People's National Party (PNP) country', is currently on his party's radar.

Westmoreland Western is represented by PNP Vice-president Dr Wykeham McNeill, who won the seat in the last general elections by 1,493 votes, polling 6,679 votes, which was a reduction of 2,261 votes over the number polled in the 2011 General Election.

In the neighbouring constituency of Westmoreland Central, which is represented by Dwayne Vaz, the PNP's margin of victory in the 2016 national polls was also reduced by more than 2,000 votes when compared to the number polled in the 2011 General Election.

In the Westmoreland Eastern constituency, the PNP's Luther Buchanan also polled roughly 2,000 votes fewer in 2016 than in the 2011 national polls.

Additionally, the JLP won four divisions in the 14-member PNP-controlled Westmoreland Municipal Corporation in the 2016 local government elections. Going into that election, the JLP had none.

On Sunday, Holness argued that with the support of the uncommitted and committed voters, there is no force that can stop the party from enlarging its footprint in Westmoreland.

“As it stands now, all seats in Westmoreland are in play. The Jamaica Labour Party will be paying attention and exert[ing] great effort in Eastern Westmoreland, in Central Westmoreland and in Western Westmoreland,” he stressed.

In the neighbouring parish of Hanover, Holness, who stated that the party had taken a strategic decision to attract more females to representational politics, informed that the party has selected young attorney-at-law Tamika Davis has its standard-bearer in Hanover Western.

He added that Davis is capable of holding an executive position in the next JLP Administration.

The JLP leaders told cheering supporters that he expects Davis will win the seat, which is currently being held by three-term PNP MP Ian Hayles.

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