Profile on Carl Rhoden
With talk of a general election in the air, The Jamaica Observer's Western Bureau will help you get to know your candidates in this end of the island. Who are they, and why should you vote for them? This week meet the Jamaica Labour Party's candidate for South St James, Carl Irwin Rhoden.
THIS 59 year-old businessman and farmer is also a former pilot. He is no political neophyte, as he took home West Central St James for the JLP in 1980 and again in 1989.
According to him, the voters should elect him because of his dedication, sincerity and honesty.
"The people need dedication and sincerity and that is what I have to offer. Honesty, dedication and sincerity of service to the public," he said. "It's not about the (hype) but about spending the limited resources in a transparent manner. A member of Parliament should be the steward of scarce resources and should be used for his constituency and the nation as a whole."
Rhoden was drafted after the JLP's first choice for South St James, Tony Dillon -- who has strong support in West Central where he has worked for years -- opted not to run in the constituency.
But although he entered the game late, Rhoden is confident that he will be able to snatch the seat from the People's National Party's Derrick Kellier, who has held the seat for a number of years.
"My chances are better than excellent, based on the level of neglect I have seen in the area and the complaints I have received from the constituents," Rhoden said.
His raft of plans for South St James, he said, include upgrading area schools and ensuring that his constituents' educational and employment needs are met. Also among his top priorities are plans to address the poor road conditions and inadequate water supply in the constituency, which relies heavily on farming.
"The main road has to be fixed and fixed properly, not just done over with some tar and then you hear how many millions of dollars gone down the drain. They need a good reliable water system, not only potable water but water for irrigation for the farmers because it is a rural agricultural area mostly," Rhoden said. "And then we need to look at setting up an agro-industry to take care of the excess production of things like pineapple, banana, plantain and dasheen. And then I would look at seeking employment and training for the youth. That's where the effort has to go now, education and enlightenment. The schools are there but they need upgrading."