St Aubyn Bartlett wants a Manchester seat
CHRISTIANA, Manchester — St Aubyn Bartlett, former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member of parliament for Eastern St Andrew, told labourites in North East Manchester on Sunday night that he is seeking to represent the party in a Manchester constituency in the next parliamentary elections.
He did not name the constituency from the platform and when pressed by the Jamaica Observer after the meeting, a smiling Bartlett refused to give any indication.
He joked that outside of North East Manchester, which is held by Audley Shaw, there are three constituencies held by the PNP in Manchester.
The three PNP-held seats in this south central parish are Central Manchester (including Mandeville) which is held by National Security Minister Peter Bunting; North West Manchester held by Mikael Phillips; and South Manchester represented by Speaker of the House of Representatives Michael Peart.
The latter has indicated he will be stepping away from representational politics come the next parliamentary elections. Chairman of the PNP's Region Five, Senator Wensworth Skeffery and chairman of the PNP's South Manchester constituency organisation Michael Stewart have both indicated their desire to replace Peart as the ruling party's standard bearer in South Manchester.
Political analysts suggest that Central Manchester which was taken by Bunting ahead of the JLP's Danville Walker by a relatively slim margin in 2011 could be the PNP's most vulnerable spot in Manchester.
"I am here to tell you tonight that I have an interest in Manchester," Bartlett told the crowd of North East Manchester JLP delegates, workers and hard-core supporters.
"While I have an interest in a constituency in Manchester, I have a greater interest in the parish of Manchester...," said Bartlett, younger brother of St James MP and former minister of government, Edmund Bartlett who was also at the Christiana meeting.
St Aubyn Bartlett, a veterinarian who represented Eastern St Andrew for two terms (2002 to 2011) told the crowd that he lived in Mandeville back in 1980 when he voted for the first time, supporting the JLP.
Sunday night's meeting featured an address by JLP leader Andrew Holness who indicated that the healing process in the party is taking place satisfactorily after divisions triggered by Shaw's challenge to his leadership last year.