I Am Getting Great Responses – Independent Candidate Seeks Historic Win In Lluidas Vale

I Am Getting Great Responses – Independent Candidate Seeks Historic Win In Lluidas Vale

February 13, 2024 0 By Jamaica Beacon

Fitzroy Bennett, better known as “Chris”, has been nominated to contest the upcoming Local Government Election, claiming that he is the first independent candidate to be contesting the Lluidas Vale Division in St Catherine North West.

He is optimistic that he will emerge victorious at the polls on February 26 especially if residents vote based on issues and not along party lines.

“Tribal politics is very much in the division and I am trying my utmost best to educate the people accordingly. This die-hearted this or this die-hearted that; I am trying to get them to vote for issues. Not because their grandparents or parents vote along a certain route, they must follow suit. No!” Bennett told The Beacon.

Lluidas Vale Division traditionally votes for the People’s National Party (PNP) as opposed to Jamaica’s other main political organization – the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

In the last Local Government Election, which was held in 2016, the PNP’s Hugh Graham won the division. But he eventually resigned to successfully contest the General Election in 2020. Since then, the Lluidas Vale Division has been without a Councillor.

Bennett stated that, based on soundings he received, the people are yearning for political and other changes.

“The responses [to my campaign] have been great, and persons might be surprised because [my being] an independent candidate in the Lluidas Vale Division is quite unique. We all know that typical Jamaicans are quite familiar with the two major parties – and the two major parties only. So persons might want to say it is an uphill task to win the seat on an independent ticket. But can I tell you that 75 percent of the people in the Lluidas Vale Division are fed up. They have been frustrated; they have been ridiculed; and they are yearning for change,” added Bennett.

He was among three first-time candidates nominated at his alma mater, Charlemont High School, on February 8 to square off in the election. The others are Karl Grant of the PNP and Joel Williams of the JLP.

Wearing the colour red, independent candidate Fitzroy ‘Chris’ Bennett strikes a pose with electoral officials after being nominated at Charlemont High School to contest election in the Lluidas Vale Division.

The nomination process, Bennett said, went smoothly. “There was no hiccups. The persons from the Electoral Office [of Jamaica] were very professional, and they were well well prepared.”

Bennett, who is a native of Top Hill district in Lluidas Vale Division, is of the view that the issues facing the area are of crisis proportion. Hence, the wording of his campaign slogan: “Chris For The Crisis”.

He told The Beacon that, if elected, he would prioritize construction of a bridge in the area known as Water Sink to prevent flooding of the Lluidas Vale main road, which sometimes becomes impassable during heavy and prolonged rainfall.

The second project he would pursue, he said, is construction of a new Lluidas Vale Health Centre building. “A medical doctor must be present under my watch at least two days a week [and] a registered nurse must be present Mondays to Fridays,” Bennett added.

He is also planning to hold dialogue with the Transport Authority for taxis to terminate in Lluidas Vale, instead of passing through while plying the route from Kellits in Clarendon to Linstead in St Catherine.

That, Bennett argued, would generate economic benefits as commuters would spend money with Lluidas Vale businesses while in transit. With more commuters or buyers being available in Lluidas Vale, more people would also be inspired to invest in the small town, Bennett added.

Declaring that he is not making empty promises, the political aspirant noted that he was “very active” in the division long before he decided to contest the polls.

He told The Beacon that he, for example, voluntarily taught students from the area five CXC subjects. “I didn’t charge a dollar to teach them and every year Worthy Park Sugar Estate paid these students’ examination fees,” Bennett further said.

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