No 'Jess-tering'


No 'Jess-tering'

Zuleika living a dream as she takes aim at political giant Mike Henry

Sunday, August 25, 2019

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Since 1980 the People's National Party (PNP) has put up eight candidates against the Jamaica Labour Party's Mike Henry in the Clarendon Central constituency in general elections, and he has devoured them all.

But this time, 31-year-old attorney-at-law Zuleika Jess believes she is the proverbial David with the sling and the stone to slay this political Goliath.

“I was offered another constituency but I fought for Central Clarendon. I was born there, I live there, I have my business there and I want to serve the people of Central Clarendon,” Jess told the Jamaica Observer less than 24 hours before today's official presentation as the PNP's candidate for the constituency.

“I have not been dropped into Central Clarendon,” said Jess as she rejected claims that she is the latest sacrificial lamb for Henry.

“I believe over the years persons have just been placed into the constituency shortly before an election and that is why I told the party that I needed a minimum of two to three years in the seat if I was to contest it,” added Jess.

She said she is passionate, driven and motivated to see positive changes in her community and, by extension, the country and has no fear of facing Henry who polled 8,053 votes in the last general election to win by more than 4,500 votes.

According to Jess, the margins of victory by Henry over the years do not frighten her.

“The truth is if we look at the numbers dispassionately we would realise that he has won by approximately 2,500 votes consistently over the years, except for 2016.

“The numbers also show that the PNP has a firm base of approximately 4,000 votes in the constituency but in 2016 our base did not turn out and that accounted for his increased majority, which was an anomaly. Added to that, we had put in a candidate very late in the election cycle the last time around,” said Jess.

“The numbers also show that despite him being there for almost 40 years, roughly 60 per cent of the persons on the voters' list did not turn out the last time around and it is that silent majority that we intend to tap into to see us through,” declared Jess.

– Arthur Hall

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