Former Minister of State Arnaldo Brown says he believes People’s National Party (PNP) candidate Zuleika Jess can pull off one of the biggest political upsets in recent times.
Brown said he was putting his money behind Jess to unseat the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) long standing MP Mike Henry.
“Jess puts me in mind of a young Portia Simpson Miller who, in 1976, did the unthinkable, and won her seat, when no one expected her to win,” said Brown
Voters tired of the same old, same old
Henry, who won the 2016 general elections after creaming his opponent , securing close to 5,000 votes more than Norma-Lue Lindsay, has represented the constituency for close to four decades, while Brown admitted that incumbents do have an advantage, he said the voter turn out is indicative of people being tired of the current leadership.
Brown points out that in 2016, only 38.75% of the voting population of 29,963 eligible electors came out to vote.
“Henry,the incumbent took 69.4% of the eligible votes at 8053 and his opponent captured a mere 29.8% of the eligible electors registering 3494 votes. A total vote of 11,610 accounted for a mere 38.75% of the number of electors on the list. That means that 61.25% of the eligible voters did not come out to vote, “Brown explained
“It is inconceivable that these persons are all supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party. In fact, it is more plausible to conclude that a number of PNP persons did not come out to vote in 2016,” added Brown.
Brown said it was also reasonable conjecture that persons have not bothered to exercise their franchise, not because they supported the Jamaica Labour Party, but because they may be of the view that the outcome is already determined; in other words, their votes would not make a difference.
According to Brown, if Jess is able to convince the non-voters that change is possible in Central Clarendon she stands more than a fighting chance.
“If the young voters who are on the voters’ list are activated thus giving her the chance, then Mike Henry is on his way to retirement, “added Brown.
Brown recognised that there may be those who are quick to discredit his assessment as being far fetched, but cited the 1989 election as giving credibility to his view, noting that the PNP’s Donna Scott Motley came close to defeating Henry.
“Senator Motley, ran against Mike Henry in 1989, where she polled 6,286 votes to Henry’s 6,768 votes,” said Brown.
Scott Motley is Jess’ political mentor.
Jess has said that if she is elected she will bring a business process outsourcing facility to Denbigh.