Local Government Election Day 2016
Both the PNP and JLP have expressed confidence of victory in today’s Local Government Elections. Despite losing the recent General Elections on February 25, and despite the tradition that the ruling party usually sweeps the Local government polls, the PNP still express confidence in today’s outcome.
The party with the majority of Councillors will be in charge of each parish council. There are nine council seats in Trelawny: 5 in North Trelawny and 4 in south Trelawny.
Here in North Trelawny, there are some interesting match ups. In Falmouth, newcomer Courtney ‘Colourman’ Fowler of the JLP is attempting to unseat sitting PNP Councillor and Mayor Garth Wilkinson. In the Martha Brae Division, another ‘new kid on the block’ Wesley Nelson, is trying to defeat sitting Councillor Philip Service.
In the Duncans Division, former PNP Member of Parliament Wendel ‘Bull Bull’ Stewart is attempting to defeat 2-time Councillor, Donovan ‘Don P’ White of the JLP.
Former losing MP candidate for the JLP, Christopher Jobson, has taken off the green shirt and now dons the orange of the PNP to take on former JLP Mayor Jonathan Bartley in the Wakefield Division.
In Sherwood Content Division, a batlle will continue (from the previous election) between Dunstan Harper of the JLP, who will once again challenge sitting Councillor Telka Holt of the PNP.
THE BATTLE FOR THE WEST
MONTEGO BAY, St James — The two major political parties are brimming with confidence of gaining control of the majority of parish councils across western Jamaica in tomorrow’s local government election.
Deputy leader in charge of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Area Council Four, JC Hutchinson, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that his party is well prepared for the polls, arguing that it will win the majority of councils in the region, which covers the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and St Elizabeth.
“We are very prepared politically. The campaign has gone well, and we have excellent candidates,” he said, adding that his party will do much better than it did in the 2012 local government polls.
“Right now, we are very certain of gaining control of the Trelawny, St James and St Elizabeth parish councils. We should also get Hanover, while we are looking at winning at least six of the 14 divisions in Westmoreland.”
In the 2012 polls, the then ruling People’s National Party (PNP) won the majority of divisions in the western parishes of St Elizabeth, Westmoreland, Hanover and St James, while in Trelawny, the party and JLP won four each. Independent candidate Paul Patmore won the other division.
The elected representatives, however, later voted for the PNP’s Garth Wilkinson (Falmouth Division) as mayor, and Colin Gager of the JLP, as his deputy, effectively giving the PNP control of the council.
For his part, PNP Vice-President Dr Wykeham McNeill has also expressed confidence that his party will do very well in the region.
“Our organisation is in place, a lot of work has been done, our candidates have been on the ground and so we are very confident of retaining our hold on the west,” McNeill told the Sunday Observer yesterday.
He believes that the PNP will continue to control all five councils in the region.
“Despite what is happening in Hanover, we will also win that parish, as well,” the PNP vice-president stressed.
McNeill was referring to the eight independent candidates contesting divisions in the parish, several of whom were members of the PNP.
Meanwhile, local political observer Christopher Hylton is predicting that the governing JLP will gain control of the parishes of St Elizabeth, Trelawny and St James in the western region.
“The battle for Hanover is definitely going to be a very close race,” he said, adding that Westmoreland will again be in the PNP’s winning column.
Noting that the election campaign has been low-keyed, Hylton said that the campaign “lacks any sort of substance and message”.
“Although we have seen the PNP and JLP candidates on the ground at times, there is really no message, nobody seems to know what really is the message,” said Hylton.