Port Maria Mayor Richard Creary has boldly predicted that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) will remain in charge of the St Mary Municipal Corporation (SMMC) when the ballots are counted on the night of the February 26 Local Government Elections.
In fact, Creary said the JLP will win two additional parochial divisions, adding to the 10 divisions the party currently has under its control since the 2016 local polls.
“We now have 10 divisions in St Mary, and I am confident that we will win 12 of the 13 (divisions),” declared Creary amid wild celebrations from JLP supporters inside the Montego Bay Convention Centre in St James on Thursday.
In addressing the audience hours before the date of the long-delayed polls was announced, Creary said he “wants” to return to the People’s National Party (PNP) “the favour” that they granted Robert Montague when he was the only JLP representative in the then St Mary Parish Council (now Municipal Corporation).
That year was 1998 when Montague won the Carron Hall Division for the JLP, while the PNP won the other 12 divisions in the polls that were held in September of that year
The PNP continued to hold control of the St Mary Parish Council in the June 2003 Local Government Elections, but lost the council to the JLP in the 2007 polls.
The PNP, after trouncing the JLP in the December 2011 General Elections, recaptured the St Mary Parish Council in the local polls held in March of 2012.
The JLP flipped the script on the PNP in the 2016 local polls, winning the St Mary Municipal Corporation after a name change from the parish council designation.
In those elections the JLP won the Annotto Bay, Richmond, Castleton, Hampstead, Port Maria, Oracabessa, Retreat, Boscobel, Gayle and Carron Hall divisions.
The PNP held on to the Islington, Belfield and Highgate divisions.
At the national level, Creary expressed confidence on Thursday that the JLP will again defeat the PNP in the local polls.
“I am confident we will be winning majority of the (municipal) corporations (locally),” said Creary.
He urged all the party’s councillor-candidates to highlight the “numerous achievements” of the JLP Administration to the electorate.
“There is no division that cannot be won,” stated Creary in an effort to boost the morale of the JLP councillor-candidates who are contesting divisions that are considered PNP bastions.