MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Me
mber of Parliament (MP) for Manchester Central Rhoda Crawford is predicting that she will attain at least 12,000 votes when the next parliamentary election is held.
“Although I won by 1,000 plus the last time — 8,000 plus and such man 6,000 plus — when Danville [Walker] ran he got 10,000 plus, so I know that the votes are here and I am assuring you and I am assuring Jamaica that when the general elections are called nothing less than 12,000,” she said while addressing a joint divisional conference at Manchester High School on Sunday.
Walker, a former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate, had reduced former Manchester Central MP Peter Bunting’s margin of victory in 2011 to 539 votes.
Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell in July was ratified as the People’s National Party’s (PNP) representative in the constituency, replacing Bunting.
Bunting lost to Crawford in the September 3, 2020 General Election. Crawford polled 8,139 votes over Bunting’s 6,989 votes.
Crawford told JLP supporters at the joint divisional conference, which was held to present the party’s aspirants for the four divisions in her constituency — Knockpatrick, Royal Flat, Bellefield, and Mandeville — that she is predicting a clean sweep.
“Whenever the local government election is called Manchester Central is delivering four out of four. The Manchester Municipal Corporation will go to the Jamaica Labour Party,” she said.
“The JLP had control of the Manchester Municipal Corporation when we only had one MP, Mr [Audley] Shaw, so now when we have central, south, north-east, and whenever that [parliamentary election] call we gone with north-west too. If we had control of the Manchester Municipal Corporation when we had one MP, now we have three, what will be our excuse fi nuh win?” she asked.
“If you [have] three MPs and your one caretaker, if we cannot get the majority of the 15 parish council divisions to take control of the Municipal Corporation — me a tell uno, and me a tell Jamaica seh we would be worthless,” added Crawford.
Without naming him, she appeared to reiterate her suggestion that Bunting is “hunting” for a seat.
“Me haffi tell such man seh anyweh part inna the country you go, a deh suh me ago be the campaign manager, because you naa get nuh seat inna Gordon House,” Crawford said.
In the 2016 local government election, the JLP’s Cleon Francis won the Knockpatrick Division and the PNP won the remaining three divisions in Manchester Central. Francis died on July 8, 2022, resulting in the Knockpatrick Division being vacant.
Crawford presented Adeka “Newsman” Miller as the party’s aspirant for Knockpatrick; Charmaine Stephenson for Mandeville; Shaneil Dixon for Bellefield; and Richard Delaphena for Royal Flat.
Dixon, 22, is aiming to contest the PNP’s Mario Mitchell in what is considered as that party’s stronghold.
“The Bellefield Division has not been won by the JLP in more than 40-odd years, but this 22-year-old from the Bellefield Division is going to deliver victory for the Jamaica Labour Party,” said Crawford.