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J’can on the cusp of history in NY election

Harold G Bailey

Monday, February 18, 2013    

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USA, New York — Tomorrow's special election for a vacant seat on the New York City Council is generating intense interest among Jamaican and other Caribbean nationals here.

There are strong indications that community activist Michael Duncan could become the first Jamaican to represent a district from the Queens borough on the council.

"Our biggest challenge is to get our people to the polls," Dave Rodney, a spokesman for Duncan's campaign, said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

At least two prominent community leaders — Irwin Clare, who heads the Diaspora Advisory Board for the North East United States and Desmond Clarke of the Jamaica National Movement — have thrown their support behind Duncan, an accounting graduate from Baruch College, the City University of New York (CUNY).

Duncan, who is one of nine candidates contesting the special election, was forced to endure a lawsuit filed by one of the other candidates over the validity of signatures on the petitions to get on the ballot.

The suit was withdrawn, however, as the New York City Board Of Elections determined that Duncan had garnered more than twice the necessary number of signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Duncan, who has launched an elaborate campaign utilising traditional and social media, as well as house-to-house visits, said he planned to focus on job creation, affordable housing and other community needs, if elected.

More than 80,000 registered voters are eligible to cast ballots in the election which became necessary following the election last year of long-time council member James Sander's Jr to the New York State Senate.

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