Thursday 12 December, 2019

PNP outspent as high as 10-1 by JLP in East Portland - Julian Robinson

Julian Robinson

Julian Robinson

General secretary of the People's National Party (PNP), Julian Robinson is bemoaning what he said was the vast difference in spending between the two political parties in the lead up to Thursday's East Portland by-election. 

While busy mobilising his team, Robinson told Loop News that the difference in spending between his party and the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) could be as high as 10 to one in favour of the JLP, but he is hoping that voters will not be influenced by the development.

He said, "if you combine both private and public resources that have been used in this election (by the JLP), it is significant. If you go to somebody's house and you ask them what they want and then you say, 'fine, I will do the stove, the fridge, the TV,' that makes a difference.

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"How much of an effect that will have? I don't know. We will have to wait and see. We are hoping that people will still remain to their values, even if they benefit and take the stuff, but there is no doubt that there is a significant imbalance between the two teams," Robinson said.

According to Robinson, amid morning showers, he has been mobilising the party's machinery in the constituency to get out the voters and win the seat for candidate Damion Crawford. He is also dismissing polls indicating that the JLP's candidate Ann-Marie Vaz will win the seat.

He said, "we had a little rain but Portland people are used to rain, so I don't think it is anything unusual. I am just ensuring that, at the stations, the people come out and vote.

"We have our target in terms of each polling station and the numbers we need to get, and I am just trying to ensure that our workers are okay and the voters are coming out. We know we have the numbers.

"This election will come down to execution on the day and bringing out the people. We have done our own internal canvas. Polls have come out but our canvas shows that we have the numbers and we are focused on that and we know where the numbers are, so it is just to get them to the stations.

"I am working for a victory. We have a number in mind and we are hoping that these persons that are generally independent in Portland, the inducements won't have that much of an impact on them," Robinson said.

Robinson, however, added that Crawford's utterances at the start of the campaign, that created some controversy nationally, was somewhat of a distraction that the party would have preferred not to have, as it took attention from the message he was trying to deliver.

"It is where we are, I don't know what impact it will have, it is hard to say. Some people on the ground were not offended by it, others were, I think most of the concerns were people outside the constituency rather than inside, but again it is difficult to gauge what impact that will have on voter turnout," Robinson said.

Crawford was accused of making sexist remarks about his opponent when he initially labelled the contest between him and Ann-Marie Vaz as being essentially one pitting a beautiful face against a beautiful brain. He also painted the lighter-skinned Vaz as being out of touch with the needs of the dark skinned masses, utterances which were deemed racist by some.

The East Portland by-election is a result of the death of two-term member of Parliament Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, who was stabbed to death in February. 

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