JLP going after clean sweep in Manchester

MILE GULLY, Manchester – Member of Parliament for Manchester Central Rhoda Crawford, and chairman of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Robert Montague say the party will be going after all four constituencies and the municipality in Manchester.

“I want the leadership of the [People’s National Party] to understand this: ‘I want you to know that is not only the four seats in Manchester that we are going to win when the general elections are called, but whenever the local government elections are called Manchester Municipal Corporation will be placed in the hands of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP),’ ” Crawford said while addressing the party’s Manchester North Western constituency conference in Mile Gully on Sunday.

The conference was held in support of the JLP’s Damion Young.

She expressed confidence that Young, who lost to the People’s National Party’s Mikael Phillips in the September 2020 election, can win the seat.

“Nuh ask you MP nutten nuh more. Nuh guh back guh complain about nothing, because a 40 years PNP have dis yah constituency an’ dem nuh do nothing worthy of mention. So when the elections are called, you make PNP know seh fi dem time come and done, and a Damion Young! A him a di man we a send a Gordon House,” said Crawford.

Without naming him she appeared to suggest that former Member of Parliament for Manchester Central Peter Bunting is “hunting” for another seat in Manchester.

Bunting lost to Crawford in the September 3, 2020 General Election. Crawford polled 8,139 votes over Bunting’s 6,989 votes.

Bunting recently told the Jamaica Observer that he was assigned to get Manchester Southern ready for the next parliamentary election. When asked at the time whether he was seeking to represent Manchester Southern, Bunting said, “I am currently the assignee [from the party’s executive committee] to support and ensure the election preparedness of the constituency organisation in South Manchester.”

The ruling JLP’s Robert Chin is the MP for Manchester Southern.

Crawford said she is integral in the JLP’s campaign in Manchester Southern.

“Unnu see seh such man on the hunt for a new seat? I tell him already it nuh mek sense him go down a south because a me a di campaign manager down a south [Manchester South] so nuh bother go down a south. Nuh bother come nowhere near Manchester because him nah win nuh seat in Manchester,” she said.

Crawford also took mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell to task for his tenure in the Royal Flat Division. In July the PNP announced Mitchell as Bunting’s replacement in Manchester Central.

“There is a new man that is coming against me. I don’t really want to send any message to him tonight. I really want to wait until next Sunday at 4 o’clock over Manchester High School — when we hold our joint divisional conference and presentation of candidates — fi give him fi him message. Don’t concern yourself with me and whether or not the people of Manchester Central will return me as MP. The people of Manchester Central are no fools,” said Crawford.

“I am not even a minister of government, but has been able to deliver more than all that the PNP did in 31 years. What I want to tell the mayor, so that he can prepare a response in the meantime: ‘The time you a walk up and down division to division, you would go and spend some time the Royal Flat Division — where you have been councillor for more than 20 years — and go fix up the place,’ ” quipped Crawford.

Montague, at the same time, told JLP supporters that every constituency can be won.

“It is now proven by Andrew Michael Holness that there is no safe seat… As we move out to campaign, whether it is the local election or is the general election or is the two of them together… Any which way dem wah call dem, it doesn’t matter, Labourites must go out there and campaign,” said Montague.

“We going to do everything to make sure not only Damion makes it, but the councillors make it, because we want to make change. We can’t have Rhoda, Robert Chin and Audley [Shaw] working so hard and dem [PNP] have the parish council. We want the house and we want the kitchen,” he added.