‘Champion Boy’ Holness gets a warm embrace from a JLP supporter in downtown Kingston. (Photo: Lionel Rookwood)
OPPOSITION and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness yesterday took to the streets of the Corporate Area following the launch of the party’s 2016 manifesto to share aspects of the 58-page document with members of the public. Holness’ tour took him to downtown Kingston, then to Cross Roads, New Kingston and Half-Way-Tree. The manifesto launch, meanwhile, took place at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel. Armed with copies of the manifesto, which the JLP called a “road map that would help to lead the country from poverty to prosperity”, the Opposition leader made his first stop at the Coronation Market, where he was happily greeted by vendors and Labour Party supporters as he explained the party’s plan going into next Thursday’s general election. As he made his way, chants of “champion boy”, from a popular Jamaican song, could be heard across sections of the market. “Champion Boy’, let him through, let through the leader,” shouted one vendor who identified herself as Debora Francis. “Shower to the world,” another vendor said. As if their words had power, the skies literally turned black and later ‘burst at the seams’, sending down what JLP supporters chanted for — showers. It, however, did not prevent soaked JLP supporters from chanting for their leader. “Bossie, look on that mango tree, a same way the Labourites them nuff; this look like 1980 all over again another,” another supporter chanted. He was alluding to the JLP’s victory in the 1980 General Election when the JLP, led then by Edward Seaga, battered the ruling People’s National Party (PNP), winning 51 seats of the 60 seats in the legislature. After spending a few minutes with supporters and vendors, Holness handed a copy of the manifesto to one vendor and then moved on to Parade where he again addressed members of a large crowd.“This manifesto is a reflection of the hard work we’ve put in over the past few years talking with Jamaicans around the nation. This process made us a better, more representative party and you can see it in our work presented here today,” Holness said as he addressed the crowd.As the crowds grew larger there were moments that had police closely observing a group of PNP supporters who joined ‘party’, chanting “Mama P” — the affectionate name of PNP Leader Portia Simpson Miller. The friendly encounter ended in jeers and cheers as the JLP team moved to Cross Roads where Holness again greeted and met with Jamaicans who jostled to get close to him. “Our manifesto is the roadmap to our Partnership for Prosperity. The manifesto details a new path for Jamaica with fresh ideas that bring real, lasting change to our nation, not simply empty rhetoric and recycled policies. Thus, there is value in our manifesto. We have ambitious goals because Jamaicans deserve better than what we are currently getting from a PNP Government. Our priority is a better Jamaica where all Jamaicans have the chance to live prosperously,” he told the people in Cross Roads. “I really like what I heard and I am harbouring high hopes,” said one man in Cross Roads. Similar sentiments were shared when Holness and his team rolled into New Kingston.
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