Reid backs himself to regain local government seat
MONTEGO BAY, St James — People’s National Party (PNP) candidate Sylvan Reid is confident that he will regain his division in the next local government election.
His confidence comes from a belief that the citizens of Salt Spring Division are still peeved that he was ousted from the St James Municipal Corporation (SJMC) some three years ago.
The former councillor reckons that that will translate into another win for him at the next election. Reid is reportedly set to go up against the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Gregory Harris, whom he defeated in the last local poll in 2016.
“After they did what they did, I did not see myself running again, but of course, the people have a venom against the Jamaica Labour Party because they know that I was an extremely hard worker,” Reid told the Jamaica Observer.
Reid and another PNP Councillor Gladstone Bent were both expelled from the St James Municipal Corporation in 2020 after being absent for three consecutive months. However, earlier in April, Bent told this newspaper that he had no intention of running in an election again, as he has since gone blind.
Reid, on the other hand, has maintained that the Salt Spring Division experienced a “transformational development” under his guidance as a councillor. He also said that the people had since expressed the view that their needs were being neglected since 2020.
“I have done what nobody else has ever done. I built 15 brand new houses in my division. No MP does that. I have fixed roads that were not touched in about 50 years. In some places, people have said that the roads were not fixed in 70 years. I have given all I can to make sure that people have water,” said the former councillor.
“Since I have been evicted there is no water in Meggie Top, Salt Spring and nobody cares about the people. The people know I am a hard worker and I am still doing the work with my personal resources, even though it is not much. So I know the turnout will be massive just to send a message,” Reid added.
Though he is no longer the elected representative, Reid told the Sunday Observer that he has maintained a close relationship with the people of the Salt Spring Division. He said that while he does not have the funding provided to local representatives, he still tries to provide what he pledged to the people living in the area.
“I still stay close to the people. I attended the recent graduations at the three schools in my division. I ensured that I gave trophies and plaques to students. We even created a category this year for the Sylvan Reid Leadership Trophy Award,” Reid stated.
“We continue to do what we can…not just handing out trophies but we still stay connected with the people. We are thinking about doing something for the back-to-school period. It is not going to be elaborate as it normally is, but we are planning on having a doctor go in and help with the medicals. So we still touch base with no resources and still do what we have to do,” he told the Sunday Observer.
In addition to the Salt Spring Division and the Catadupa Division, the Cambridge Division is also without a sitting councillor, and based on regulations, the Mayor of Montego Bay Leeroy Williams is in charge of ensuring that the needs of the people are met. The Cambridge Division was last represented by Member of Parliament for St James Southern Homer Davis after he was elected in the 2020 General Election.
Last Thursday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness gave a clear indication that the local government election will be held by next February. The election was postponed for a third time when the Bill allowing for the delay was passed in both Houses of Parliament in February this year.
“The Government intends to fulfill the constitutional requirements and the constitution as it relates to the local government elections…If something happens — an exogenous shock, weather events, then certainly that has to be considered but as it is now, it is the intention of the Government to fulfill its constitutional duties,” Holness said during a press conference on Thursday.
The local government election, constitutionally due every four years, was last held in November 2016. The election was due to be held in November 2020 but was postponed, as Jamaica was still in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding the fact that a general election was held two months earlier, in September of that year.