The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is relying on young voters to turn the political tide in the Lluidas Vale Division, which has remained a bastion of the People’s National Party (PNP) in the St Catherine North West constituency.
JLP Chairman for the constituency Newton Amos, pictured above, told The Beacon: “When you look at statistics for many years, it will show that Lluidas Vale is a stronghold – is almost like a garrison for the PNP.
“But we are living in interesting times. We have a large chunk of young voters that have now emerged on the voting landscape. These are people who – most of them, have had more than average education and they are thinking about bettering themselves,” Amos said in an exclusive interview this week.
The Lluidas Vale Division has been characterized by low voter turnout. In the 2016 local government election, for example, only 1,887 (or 25.83 percent) of the electorate voted. Hugh Graham of the PNP amassed 1,212 (or 64.2 percent) of the votes, defeating the JLP’s Shanlee O’connor Samaroo who secured 660 votes (or 35 percent). There were 15 rejected ballots.
Both the PNP and JLP are expected to have new candidates in the Division next time round.
The PNP is yet to select a replacement for Graham, who will step up to represent the party in the general election in St Catherine North West, which includes Lluidas Vale Division.
The JLP, in the meantime, has settled on Joel Williams to represent it in Lluidas Vale when the next local government election is held.
“The new candidate Mr Joel Williams is an excellent individual. He is committed; he is a people person; he is from the area; it’s not that he is imposed on the people…,” Amos told The Beacon.