By-election drives small business sales in Port Antonio

Observer staff reporter

Friday, April 05, 2019

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Some small businesses in Port Antonio reported good sales as jubilant supporters of both the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and People's National Party (PNP) took to the streets from as early as 6:00 am yesterday to kick off the battle for the Portland Eastern seat.

The day began with heavy showers but not enough to dampen the mood of supporters who came out in their numbers to vote.

Sounds of vuvuzelas and honking horns from both registered voters and newcomers filled the streets with excitement as the bigwigs from both parties tried to pull out as many supporters as they could in their attempts to secure a victory.

As the crowds descended on the town for the hotly contested by-election, so did business owners who had doubled up on their offerings in anticipation of what was expected to be a great sales day.

“Dis a mi second pot of soup since morning, and if mi did have another pot it woulda gone when the first one reach half,” soup vendor C Murray told the Jamaica Observer.

Murray, who said that has been selling in Port Antonio for the past 38 years, told the Observer that on a normal Thursday he would not be able to sell a full a pot of soup until nightfall.

Metres away, cane juice vendor “Kookie” shared similar sentiments. After just two hours on the street he had sold more than 10 750ml bottles of cane juice.

“I've never been out on a Thursday before, but I thought it would be good to come out today,” Kookie said.

“So far things really going good. This kinda sale is what I would make on a Friday or Saturday,” he continued.

By 3:00 pm, the official numbers showed that there was a larger voter turnout in the constituency than in the February 2016 General Election when the then PNP candidate, Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, won the seat.

More importantly, the day ran incident-free with only minor confrontations between opposing party supporters which the Jamaica Constabulary Force, with assistance from the Jamaica Defence Force, moved quickly to quell.

As the boxes came in for a final count, Port Antonio was the scene of celebration after the JLP's Ann-Marie Vaz was declared winner.

On Tuesday, the Jamaica Observer/ Nationwide 90FM/Bill Johnson poll showed Vaz holding a 10 per cent lead over the PNP's Damion Crawford.

The Portland Eastern seat became vacant after Bloomfield was murdered at his Passley Gardens home in Hope Bay, Portland, on February 2.

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