Morris vows to fight on in PNP tussle despite poll loss to Newell

DESPITE falling short in a recent opinion poll commissioned by the Opposition People’s National Party, Senator Dr Floyd Morris has vowed to fight on in the battle to succeed Dr Morais Guy as Member of Parliament for St Mary Central.

Morris, Jamaica’s first blind senator, told his supporters in a voice note at the weekend, which was obtained by the Jamaica Observer, that although the poll numbers were unfavourable to him and his campaign, the work was far from over.

Morris, a former president of the Senate, is making his second attempt to become MP for the constituency of his birth. He is up against first-time political race runner Omar Newell, a former head of PNP-affiliate, the Patriots.

The poll results — a criterion to decide who will represent the PNP in the next general election, constitutionally due by 2025 but which can be held before — were leaked at the end of last week and showed Newell coming out better than Morris, overall.

In terms of voter intention, the poll found that Newell was ahead of the Jamaica Labour Party’s Lennon Richards, the party’s last representative in the 2020 General Election. Newell had 43.8 per cent support to Richards’ 28.2.

Morris was also convincing against Richards, showing a 39.5 per cent support, to 27.1 per cent.

It is not certain if Richards will be the JLP’s candidate next time around.

In terms of favourability the poll showed that Newell had 33.3 per cent support, ahead of Morris with 28.2 per cent.

On the flip side, the unfavourability number for Newell was 20.3 per cent, and that for Morris was 28 per cent.

The party standings in the constituency saw the PNP enjoying 41.7 per cent support, and the JLP 27.1. St Mary Central is considered to be in the “safe” zone for the PNP.

Morris, in response to the poll numbers, did not question their legitimacy but instead sought to spur his supporters to rise to a greater challenge, that of mobilising for a vote by delegates — the final determining factor.

“Hello, Comrades,” the senator of over 25 years said to his people on Saturday. “Good night. This is my last comment for the evening as I am in my sabbatical hours. Just to say to you, Comrades, I know you might have your disappointments because you would want to see the numbers coming out a bit different … that we would come out in the lead. But I say: ‘Don’t be disappointed because 39.5 is not different from 43.8 — and that is critical for us to note.’

“The word is love and I say to you all: ‘Floyd Morris is a warrior, Floyd Morris is a fighter.’ ”

Newell, a product of Islington, told the Observer on Sunday that he was proud of where his campaign had been able to take his candidacy.

“We remain committed to a positive and clean campaign. We have deliberately had no spot meetings or broader campaign meetings, rather focusing on [a] house-to-house, door-to-door approach.”