Zuleika Jess ready to pick up the gauntlet following victory over Kern Spencer
Zuleika Jess who beat Kern Spencer in an internal election to represent the People’s National Party (PNP) in St Elizabeth North East, says she is ready to return the constituency to the PNP and bring party leader Mark Golding his first electoral victory.
Jess was responding to questions from journalists on Sunday following her massive win by a margin of 70 per cent over Spencer during the PNP run-off vote at St Elizabeth Technical High School in Santa Cruz.
“I am thankful for the trust and the confidence that they (the PNP) have reposed in me and I am ready to do the job that I was brought here to do which is to bring victory to the people of northeast St Elizabeth and to return the constituency to the People’s National Party and to give Mark Golding his very first electoral victory,” Jess stated.
She also thanked the constituents who she said voted for and supported her journey to this victory.
“I am absolutely thrilled, I am elated, I have an immense sense of gratitude, I am grateful to the people of northeast St Elizabeth. I am grateful to my team, to the councilors… and by and large the entire people of this constituency because they have carried me on their backs and they have carried me in their hearts,” she said.
“It is quite an emotional victory because this was a victory that was won only because we had the support of the people and there is no better victory than one that is powered by the people and so I am feeling extremely happy and I’m feeling extremely thankful that the people of northeast St Elizabeth have spoken in such a loud and clear way,” Jess added.
She also told journalists that the victory was more than her team expected, which points to how “serious the people of northeast St Elizabeth are about getting quality representation”.
Jess polled 569 votes to Spencer’s 209, though 1,274 delegates were eligible to vote during the internal election.
Long considered a stronghold of the PNP, St Elizabeth North Eastern was lost to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Delroy Slowley in the 2020 general election — representing one of the shock results of that election, which the JLP won in a landslide.
In that election, Jess lost in her bid to wrest the Clarendon Central seat from the JLP’s Mike Henry.
Spencer, who had won the St Elizabeth North Eastern seat for the PNP in 2007, was forced to walk away from representational politics in the build-up to the 2011 general election following corruption charges — which were eventually dismissed — relating to the Cuban light bulb scandal.
Spencer is currently the chairman of the PNP’s region five consisting of Manchester and St Elizabeth.
READ: Jess beats Spencer in St Elizabeth NE PNP run-off