Comrades deliver show of force in St Ann

BROWN’S TOWN, St Ann – The People’s National Party (PNP) continued its broadside against the Government on Sunday night, during a presentation of the party’s candidates for St Ann. Scores of orange-clad supporters converged for the more than five-hour-long event headlined by members of the party’s hierarchy.

During their time on the stage, PNP President Mark Golding and the party’s parliamentary candidate for St Catherine North Western Damion Crawford repeatedly used the phrase “a strange land” to describe Jamaica under the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

They urged Comrades to give a Golding-led Administration a chance in the next general election to take back the reins and change the narrative.

“When I look at the reality that our people with 10 subjects can’t go to university and have to be working in ‘Chiney man’ wholesale, that is ‘Babylon’,” the dreadlocked Crawford said, using a word Rastafarians sometimes use in a derogatory manner to describe those in power.

“When I look at a system that don’t have education for our children, that is Babylon and a strange land. When I look at the reality that 41 per cent of students who do PEP [Primary Exit Profile] don’t reach proficiency, that is a strange land,” he continued.

“Just look at how much people have to wait on Cash Pot number [gambling] to call in order to eat; I have to say this is a strange land,” added Crawford as he urged Comrades inside the auditorium of St Hilda’s Diocesan High in Brown’s Town to think of better times in years gone by.

“I’m asking now that all the people who remember that time when Jamaica used to be something, and being a Jamaican used to have credibility and value, to stand up once again in support of the PNP,” added Crawford.

The message appeared to be well-received by the Comrades who blew trumpets and waved orange flags throughout the presentation.

“Powa, powa! Yes, Damion,” said one lady who gave her name as Tameka.

In his address Golding went back to a topic he has raised many times in the past.

“We want a Jamaica that people can trust their leaders, where the leaders have integrity and use the resources of the people only for the people. When I come and see the massive audience I know that ‘time come’ and we are ready for change,” he said.

The PNP’s campaign slogan for the next election is “Time come”.

“Comrades, we don’t want to live in no strange land, Jamaicans don’t want to live in any strange land that this Government has created,” Golding continued.

No date has been announced for either the local government or the general election, which are constitutionally due next February and 2025, respectively. But the PNP has been in campaign mode for months.

“I feel good about the team that the PNP has put forward; we have a nice mix here in St Ann,” Golding told the cheering crowd on Sunday.

Opposition spokesman on finance Julian Robinson also expressed confidence in the party’s slate.

“You have a set of candidates who are the best we have ever seen at a local level,” he said.

The PNP’s list of sitting or councillor candidates includes: Nordia Thompson (Gibraltar), Winston Brown (Borobridge), Alrdrick Boothe (Bamboo), Nicola Hamilton (Ocho Rios), Paul McFarlane (Calderwood), Cosmo Henry, (Sturge Town), Christopher French (Alexandria), Nathaniel Lawrence (St Ann’s Bay), Philpot Mitchell (Dry Harbour), Kaydian Harty (Claremont), Desmond Gilmore (Lime Hall), Charles Clarke (Brown’s Town), Clovis Gohagen (Bensonton), and Lloyd Garrick (Moneague).

The MP candidates include Manley Clarke (St Ann North Western) and Keith Walford (St Ann South Western).