Just over 10,000 people are eligible to participate in the poll triggered by the vacancy created by the death of PNP Councillor Cynthia Burrell on May 30. Cassia Park is one of three divisions in Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips’ East Central St Andrew constituency.
Burrell’s daughter, Sheryn Bromfield, will square off against the former three-time councillor for the division, Beverly Prince, in what is expected to be a close poll.
Yesterday, Deputy General Secretary Julian Robinson told the Jamaica Observer that the party is confident of retaining the seat, based on the “goodwill” created by Burrell in the division, and the fact that she groomed her daughter to carry on her work.
“Based on the work done by Mrs Burrell in the constituency in the 16 months she had been there as councillor, including improvements to the infrastructure, there is a tremendous amount of goodwill on the ground for her, and based on the foundation she has built we are confident that we will retain the seat,” Robinson said.
But JLP Deputy Leader Desmond McKenzie said that although “the PNP is using everything” at its disposal to retain the seat, the JLP is “pretty, pretty confident that we will win back the seat”.
“We have a candidate with a personal touch and a special appeal which has enabled her to win this division on three occasions in the past. She knows the people and they appreciate her work. We believe that the work the party has done and the support she is getting from the people, both JLP and PNP, will be enough to regain the seat,” said McKenzie, a former mayor of Kingston.
Prince represented the Cassia Park Division as the only JLP councillor between 1998 and 2012. However, after losing to Phillips in the general election of December 2011, she switched to the much harder Hagley Park Division, where she lost, while the JLP’s Joel Levy also lost the Cassia Park division by 31 votes. The loss was the first for the JLP in 12 years.
Meanwhile, in the 2012 local government election, only 2,206, or 22 per cent, of the 10,129 voters in the division cast their ballots. However, a much larger turnout is expected today given the importance.