News - Real Estate - Politics (April
Golding gets expected easy win in West Kingston
JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) leader Bruce Golding
yesterday swamped the People's National Party's (PNP) Joseph "Bunny"
Witter by more than 7,000 votes in the West Kingston by-election, and
immediately claimed the right to speak as leader of the Opposition in the budget
debate next week.
The JLP leader polled 8,225 votes to Witter's
1,079. The National Democratic Movement's (NDM) Michael Elliott scored 10 votes
and Ras Astor Black of the Jamaica Alliance Movement scored 8 votes.
Golding, who had walked out of the JLP in 1995 to
form the NDM, lost his Central St Catherine seat in the 1997 general election.
His return to the JLP on the eve of the 2002 general election was credited with
the good showing of the JLP in that poll when the party won 26 of the 60 seats.
He was appointed as an Opposition senator that same year, but resigned shortly
after Seaga gave up the West Kingston seat in January and was chosen to replace
Golding told a press briefing after the
results were announced that the Opposition's plans are that Audley Shaw, its
spokesman on finance, will open the Opposition's reply to the Minister of
Finance on Tuesday; Opposition Leader Dr Ken Baugh will speak on Wednesday;
"and I expect to make my own presentation as Leader of the Opposition on
There had been some speculation as to whether
Golding would have been able to speak in the 2005/2006 Budget Debate, which will
be opened by Minister of Finance and Planning Dr Omar Davies, at Gordon House
Golding, asked how soon he expected to be
sworn in, stated "I expect to be sworn in order for me to make that
presentation on Thursday".
Meanwhile, Witter stated last night that he was
"feeling good" despite his loss. "To
me, the only surprise would be if I had won," he said.
Golding was elated and paid homage to his
campaign team led by Mayor of Kingston Desmond McKenzie, as he addressed
hundreds of supporters at the community centre in Tivoli Gardens after the
A large turnout of labourites, including MPs and
their followers from across the country, flocked the Tivoli Gardens square
throughout the day to support their leader in what was always expected to be an
easy win in the seat held for almost 43 years by Edward Seaga, who resigned in
January as party leader and MP.
"We don't have the final figures, it
appears that the percentage was perhaps close to 60 per cent which is good for
by-elections. I think that you will find that it is perhaps the highest turnout
in any by-election in this country in the last 25 years," Golding told
He added that what was also significant was that
the JLP had improved its percentage of the votes polled in terms of the
percentage margin between his party and the PNP.
"The results not only demonstrate the
almost unshakable, unmovable support for the party in West Kingston, but I also
take it as a strong, convincing and powerful mandate for me to go forward,"
Yesterday's turnout was close to 60 per cent,
compared to the 81 per cent who voted in 2002 when Seaga polled 11,251, in
trouncing Witter who received 2,099. But it was a good by-election result
considering that a number of constituencies registered between 45 per cent and
55 per cent turnout in the October 2002 general election.