Portland East ready for nomination day
PORT ANTONIO, Portland:
After days of rigorous campaigning, the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Damion Crawford and the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Ann-Marie Vaz will be nominated today to become their respective parties’ candidate for the April 4 by-election.
Crawford and Vaz are scheduled to be nominated at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively.
The Portland East seat became vacant after incumbent Member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield was murdered at his Passley Gardens home in the parish on February 2.
The nomination centre for both candidates is at the Port Antonio courthouse in Bryan’s Bay, where senior members and supporters of the two major political parties are expected to turn out in large numbers to cheer on their standard-bearers.
The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ)’s local office in Port Antonio is reporting that 36,315 persons are eligible to vote in the upcoming by-election, an increase of 1,925 persons, up from 34,390 in 2016.
With 122 polling stations expected to be open for the April 4 constituency election in five parish council divisions, including Fellowship, Fairy Hill, Port Antonio, Manchioneal, and Prospect, both camps are optimistic about winning.
“He (Damion) is doing the work, and we are doing the work, and we are very confident given the response that we have seen,” said Dr Peter Phillips, the party’s president.
“His opponent (Vaz) has been around for a long time, and so he has a lot of work to do, but we are very confident. ... Damion Crawford is an ideal candidate reaching out to the young people, and he shares their experience of life to a great degree,” Phillips declared.
However, Portland West MP Daryl Vaz, who is the husband of Ann-Marie Vaz, said he had no doubt that the JLP would be victors.
“This is all about action, not a bag a mouth,” said Vaz, reciting a slogan the prospective candidate has used regularly on the hustings.
He said that his wife was passionate about helping the people of Portland East. “Truth be told, her efforts in impacting the lives of the people of Portland East mek mi look like mi nah try,” said Daryl.