MP-elect in western Jamaica talks winning strategies
BY HORACE HINES
Friday, September 11, 2020
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Successful Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidates in the September 3 General Election have shared their winning strategies in western Jamaica, and acknowledged the benefit they derived from the popularity of party leader Andrew Holness.
For Homer Davis, who was tasting victory for the first time in St James Southern after two-consecutive failed attempts in previous general elections, it was hard work and perseverance that paid off on the third try.
Davis polled 7,223 votes to beat first-time candidate Dr Walton Small of the People's National Party (PNP) by 1,948 votes.
He argued that he was rewarded for the bond he had forged with the residents over the last 15 years.
“I stayed with the people of South St James because I gave them my commitment that I will remove the PNP leadership from the constituency.
“Losing two elections, I did not see it as failure, I saw it as planning better strategy to make sure that I would be successful at the next election,” he said.
After getting 6,125 votes in 2011, and losing by 1,072 votes, and amassing 6,216 votes five years later — losing by double digits — Davis had his highest count last week and said he was not surprised by the voter turnout or the margin of victory.
The former policeman, who was councillor for the Cambridge Division, said since 2005 he has been encouraged by the people of St James Southern to vie for the seat.
“I could not have relinquished after losing those two elections, and when taken into consideration, the election that was held in 2016, I lost by a mere 62 votes, and the people said to me, 'You can't leave us at this time, we will make sure that we carry you across the finishing line when the next elections are called'. And they said that to me and they did just that,” said Davis, who up to yesterday morning was the mayor of Montego Bay.
In Hanover Western, according to the JLP's Tamika Davis, who defeated the PNP's three-time Member of Parliament Ian Hayles by 1,038 votes after obtaining 6,028 votes, a breakdown in representation contributed to her victory, resulting in an end to a 31-year drought in the constituency for the governing party.
The political neophyte, who was introduced as the candidate in October of 2019 after winning a JLP constituency selection process, accused Hayles of failing to deliver.
“He was not able to campaign on anything that he had done. Instead of saying, 'Look at the road that I have started in X-place, I am going to complete it. Look at the projects I started here…', he had nothing to campaign on and that in itself speaks volumes,” stated Tamika.
She said his failure to deliver made her campaign a little easier.
“People were at that point where they realised that they were not getting value for their votes,” the MP-elect said.
“People would say, 'But this road has been in this state from way back and every time he would come and promise and, secondly, we don't see him again',” she recounted.
In the meantime, Morland Wilson, Member of Parliament-elect for Westmoreland Western who polled 6,145 votes to unseat the PNP's Dr Wykeham McNeill, who polled 5,155 votes, explained that while he used technology and other strategies in his campaign, it was the performance of the country under the previous JLP Administration and the partly leader's visit to the parish that guided him to victory.
He added that constituents, disgruntled by the underperformance of his opponent, also played a key role in his success.
“What we had was a popular prime minister who people love. We had a Government that was performing tremendously, prior to [COVID-19], then we had a minister of health who rose to the challenge of the pandemic and steered us out of complete crisis. So that within itself had an impact on the governance of the country,” Wilson told the Jamaica Observer.
“We banked mostly on the policies and the good governance of the Government more than the strategy to convince people. I think people were already convinced, it was just for us to show that we are conduit for that type of governance structure, in delivering good leadership in Westmoreland. That is why I believe Westmoreland went 'Labour', because people had already agreed to the governance performance of the Government and wanted that in their neck of the woods as well,” he said.