Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PJ leads nominees in the west
Observer Reporter
Tuesday, October 01, 2002



Prime Minister P J Patterson addresses supporters after he was nominated in the Eastern Westmoreland constituency, yesterday. (Photo: Dalton Laing)

WESTERN BUREAU -- A confident Prime Minister P J Patterson turned up at the Eastern Westmoreland nomination centre ahead of his 1:00 pm scheduled appointment, where he was duly nominated for the October 16 general elections.

Patterson, the president of the ruling People's National Party (PNP), then addressed a large crowd of supporters after completing the nomination process. He told supporters that he was early as he had to return to Kingston to deal with matters related to the damage caused by Hurricane Lili.

Despite the bad weather, supporters of the two major parties were out in full force, with several motorcades snaking their way across the parishes of St James, Hanover, Trelawny, and Westmoreland.

Most candidates used three $1,000 notes to pay, but the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) deputy leader and candidate for East Central St James, Ed Bartlett did things a little differently.

His witness, Vinette Stewart, arrived ahead of him and presented $1,000 in one dollar coins and the remaining $2,000 was paid in $500 bills.

The gesture, the party said, was a tribute to Sir Alexander Bustamante, whose image is on the coin. There was no indication if the shying away from the $1,000 bill had anything to do with its bearing the image of PNP icon Michael Manley.

The National Democratic Movement's (NDM's) candidate for the area, Cornel Cameron also shied away from the $1,000 bills, and opted to pay with six $500 bills.

And while most candidates managed to complete the process in about 15 minutes, the JLP's Barrington Grey learned the hard way that neatness counts. He and his supporters in Eastern Hanover were forced to redo the forms after they were rejected by the returning officer, Anita Small -urray.

The entire process took them about 35 minutes to complete.

Meanwhile, Winston Malcolm, the man who had vowed not to contest a seat even though (UPP) had listed him as their candidate in Eastern Hanover, was nominated on the UPP ticket.

He showed up about an hour after his 11:15 appointment but had to wait another hour because he was short of three witnesses as there were only seven with him.

The three additional supporters eventually made an appearance and he completed the process a little before 1:30 pm.

But it was at the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court, the nomination centre for North West St James, where the candidates -- swarmed by members of the media -- spent most of their time.

The PNP's candidate, Gordon Brown, was accompanied by former tourism minister Francis Tulloch who predicted that the 33 year-old lawyer would win by at least 2,000 votes.

But Brown was not into predictions and gave an interesting response when asked his age.

"I am 33 years old, the same age as Jesus Christ when he was crucified," he said with a laugh.

His major opponent is the JLP's Dr Horace Chang, who held a mini rally outside the nomination centre when he completed the process, and was then carried away on his supporters' shoulders.

The NDM's Apollone Reid and Ras Astor Black from the Independent Jamaica Alliance Movement are the other contenders.

Black showed up with only one supporter, but he said he got 50 signatures just to make sure that he gets on the slate.

Reid and a handful of supporters sang gospel songs as one woman danced in front of the courthouse. They then released a bunch of blue balloons tied to a piece of paper that read: "In God we trust".