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Seiveright sets up St Thomas development task force

Sunday, July 20, 2014    

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ENERGETIC, young politician Delano Seiveright has established a high-level development task force to organise and implement a development plan for a section of the eastern Jamaica parish of St Thomas.

Seiveright, who is aiming to represent the Jamaica Labour Party in the constituency of St Thomas East in the next general election, due 2016, has called the group the Develop St Thomas Eastern Taskforce.

The task force, as confirmed by Seiveright, is led by international financial consultant Peter Young, and also includes Olympian and 1992 Sportswoman of the Year Juliet Cuthbert, as well as young Scholar and chemist Dr Peter Nelson, all of whom come from humble beginnings in St Thomas.

Cuthbert has already stated her intention of representing the JLP in a St Catherine constituency for the next general election.

Dr Nelson was recently featured in the Sunday Observer for his amazing academic accomplishments. He received a PhD in chemistry from the University of the West Indies (UWI) at the age of 25, and will shortly take up one of five exclusive post-doctoral fellowships at Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

The development Task force, according to Seiveright, will over the coming weeks reach out to and take into account the views of stakeholders in and outside of St Thomas about the challenges faced and the way forward.

"The area has a long history of neglect and underdevelopment," Seiveright told the Sunday Observer.

"It is the last parish in Jamaica to get a high school (1961), and last year the parish landed dead last in the total value of real estate transactions. I believe some of this can be traced back to the Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865, that saw the British colonial government responding harshly by destroying the parish at first, and neglecting it thereafter, and also the economic and societal meltdown in the 1970s and the economic meltdown of the 1990s.

"Outside of the JLP's Robert Lightbourne, who represented neighbouring St Thomas West over 40 years ago and brought about industrialisation with several factories in operation, then that brought many jobs and got the parish moving again, not much has happened, except one thing — that is when Mike Henry and James Robertson opened the Yallahs bridge in 2008, thereby better opening up the neglected parish that was many times cut off from the rest of the country when it rains," Seiveright went on.

Seiveright also stated that the task force was developed after,"seeing first-hand the depressing level of underdevelopment in St Thomas Eastern, which translates into very high levels of poverty, a gross lack of opportunities, widespread apathy, and very poor infrastructure, despite over two decades of representation by one powerful and high-ranking MP. Too many of the people are going through hell; they deserve vision and leadership. I am working with everyone JLP, PNP and no P."

Task force chair, Peter Young said that he is "delighted to lead this very important task force. St Thomas is a beautiful parish with a tremendous amount of potential. What we need is a development plan that takes into account the views of St Thomas, stakeholders, the support of the people of St Thomas and strong leadership to put into effect the plan".

Seiveright added: "Despite all the underdevelopment around I see huge opportunities for development in road infrastructure, education, health care, agriculture, tourism, and even yes ... ganja. Nevertheless, rather than imposing plans on people, it is best that the stakeholders tell us what they want, what can work for St Thomas, and where we can we introduce new ideas into the mix. So we just have to get our act together, be practical, hold on to a vision, and work with it."

Young is the president and founder of Advanced Fund Administration (Cayman) Ltd. Prior to establishing AFA, he was the Executive vice-president and principal operating officer for Citi Hedge Fund Services (Cayman) Ltd, (formerly, BISYS Hedge Fund Services (Cayman) Limited), with responsibility for its Cayman Islands operation.

Prior to joining BISYS, Young was the managing partner and CEO of Rothstein Kass & Company's Cayman Islands office, which included Rothstein, Kass & Company (Cayman) Certified Public Accountants and RK Consulting (Cayman) Ltd Mutual Fund Administrators respectively.

During his tenure as managing partner of Rothstein Kass & Company's Cayman Islands office, Young oversaw the audit and administration of over 450 hedge funds with over US$45 billion in assets under management. He has extensive experience serving as a director for some of the largest hedge fund complexes and other investment companies in the industry.

Young's professional memberships include the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the American Accounting Association, and the Cayman Islands Society of Professional Accountants.

Seiveright, one of the youngest members of the Jamaica Labour Party's Central Executive, served as the youngest president of Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the JLP, and is a former advisor in the political administration led by

Bruce Golding between 2007 and 2011.

The holder of a Bachelor of Science Degree (Hons) in Political Science from the University of the West Indies and a Master's of Science Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of London, Seiveright served on several boards, including the

Jamaica Information Service (JIS), the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo), the Postal Corporation of Jamaica, the National Family Planning Board, Wigton Windfarm Ltd, the Trade Board, the Bauxite Alumina Trading Company (BATCO), and the Public Relations Committee of the Air Jamaica board of directors.

A passionate advocate for Cannabis/Ganja Law Reform, he is a projects and communications consultant to several local and international entities.

Seiveright is also a commentator on public affairs and served as a talk show host for several years. In recent times he visited the People's Republic of China twice as a guest of the Government of China; was a participant in the United States Department of State Presidential Election Tour in November 2012. and participated in the 2013 International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver, Colorado.

St Thomas East is represented in Parliament by Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson.

There have been 15 contested general elections between 1944 and 2014 there have been 15 contested parliamentary general elections in St Thomas East, with the JLP winning nine times to the PNP's six.

Isaac William Augustus Barrant (JLP), convincingly defeated his opponents in 1944, 1949 and 1955.

Lynden G Newland continued the trend winning by wide margins in 1959, 1962, 1967, and 1972.

Barrant and Newland served as prominent ministers of Government in then JLP administrations

The JLP streak of seven consecutive victories in St Thomas Eastern was broken in 1976 when the national swing to the PNP took its toll even in the parish of St Thomas and Violet Thompson (PNP) polled 6,602 votes to defeat LG Newland by a slender majority of 310.

In the next parliamentary general election — 1980 — Pearnel Charles (JLP) sent the PNP's candidate Winston G Jones into political oblivion by polling 10,543 votes to Jones' 4,305, a majority of 6,269.

The 1983 snap election brought back Pearnel Charles unopposed.

Charles served as a very prominent minister of government in the then JLP administration

In 1989, Charles narrowly defeated the PNP's Franklyn Sephestine by polling 7,930 votes to the PNP's 7,462 votes, a margin of 468 votes; independent candidate Roosevelt S Barrant polled 122 votes.

Pearnel Charles was defeated in the March 30, 1993 general election when he lost the St Thomas East seat to Dr Fenton Rudyard Ferguson (PNP) by 1,554 votes (PNP 7,199; JLP 5,645) in a voter turnout of 72 per cent.

In 1997, Dr Ferguson defeated the JLP's Dennis Wright with a majority of 1,509 votes amassing 7,525 votes to the JLP's 6,016 -- a majority of 1,509. The NDM candidate, Victor Hutchinson, polled 163, thus losing his deposit. Voter turnout 69%.

In 2002, the Dr Ferguson again defeated the JLP's Dennis Wright with a majority of 1,326 votes polling a total of 7,399 votes to the JLP's 6,073. Voter turnout 60.8 per cent.

The 2007 saw Dr Ferguson defeating the JLP's Dr Omer Thomas with a reduced majority of 932 votes polling a total of 7,589 votes to the JLP's 6,651. Voter turnout 60.4 per cent.

Despite a swing to the PNP in the 2011 General Election, Dr Ferguson's margin of victory collapsed to 473, with the PNP totalling 8,018 to the JLP's Dr Patrece Charles' 7,545 in a voter turnout of 55.3 per cent.

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