VIDEO: ‘They Welcome Me’ – JLP Candidate Predicts First Victory In Lluidas Vale

February 13, 2024 0 By Jamaica Beacon

Joel Williams is confident that the community-based work he has done in the past few years will enable him to emerge victorious in the Local Government Election on February 26 in a stronghold of the People’s National Party (PNP).

He is representing the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the Lluidas Vale Division, located in the St Catherine North West constituency.

“I am confident,” he declared. “I am confident because it is the first time in over 40 years the Jamaica Labour Party has a good candidate to represent them in the Lluidas Vale Division. And the reason why? Because over the years a lot of people think that Lluidas Vale is a die-hearted PNP (People’s National Party) division. And I took it up on my head and said, ‘Listen, I am going to prove them wrong’. This election, I am gonna be in the winner’s enclosure.”

For Williams, it is not just about winning an election; is is also about an opportunity to execute the plans he has to improve Lluidas Vale Division.

“My number one priority right now is roads and water. The roads are in a deplorable condition and, in most areas, there is no water in the pipe,” he explained. “Secondly, youth development [is also a priority] – something for the youth to really do… There is [currently] nothing to really empower the youth – and it’s very discouraging. Most of the youths are just sitting on the corner smoking and drinking Boom; it is not encouraging.”

Williams stated that, as part of his effort to assist young people in Lluidas Vale Division, he had started two police youth clubs – one at Tydixon district and the other in Lluidas Vale proper. He also had plans to establish a third one, but there have been challenges.

“It’s a challenge because sometimes when the youths come out, after three or four meetings and they are not getting anything [tangible], they lose interest. And the other party started to politicize it…” Williams lamented.

He is originally from Tydixon district in Lluidas Vale Division, but he relocated to Kingston where he attended the Jamaica-German Automotive School. He also worked with a car rental company and started operating a restaurant called Seafood Express in the parish of St Andrew.

Williams later decided to return to the Lluidas Vale Division to pursue agriculture.

It didn’t take long for him to start feeling the effects of issues such as water shortage and deplorable road condition.

“I was having a challenge doing my farm and so I decided that I am going to do something about it,” he said, adding that he made the decision to enter representational politics – something he didn’t previously consider.

Williams further explained that, in an attempt to get the JLP’s green-light, he approached Newton Amos, who is Chairman of the JLP’s machinery in St Catherine North West, where Lluidas Vale Division is located.

“I decided that I was gonna join forces with him, and he welcomed me with open arms. And we decided to start working together,” added Williams. “Since then, I have been putting up [street] lights, cleaning drains, giving back to the community, trucking water to the community, and communicating with the people.”

The resident’s response, Williams said, has been positive for the most part. “They are responding very well; they show their interest that they like me and they welcome me. That’s why I decided to really stick to it.”

The Lluidas Vale Division traditionally votes against the JLP.

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

The three men vying for that post were nominated at Charlemont High School on a sun-drenched Thursday afternoon, February 8. They are Williams, independent candidate Fitzroy Bennett, and Karl Grant of the PNP.

Unlike Williams, Grant and Bennett were announced as candidates a few months ago.

Amos, the JLP’s constituency chairman, stated that Williams has worked his way to becoming a formidable candidate.

“Lluidas Vale is our biggest challenge [of the four divisions in St Catherine North West]. Lluidas Vale is considered as a PNP enclave just as the constituency has been for the past 30 years, but we have made tremendous headway in the Lluidas Vale communities. We have done a lot of work…” he asserted.

He also noted that Williams, unlike his PNP opponent, is a native of Lluidas Vale Division.

“We are very very confident that this time around the people will see the necessity to put in place a candidate of their own, a person who has grown up with them, a person who has walked and talked with them, [and] a person who visited upon them when they are sick… He is always around and involved himself in all kinds of community work, social work, and community development,” Amos said.

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