The People’s National Party’s (PNP) incumbent Member of Parliament for East Portland Dr Lynvale Bloomfield has made a scathing review of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) introduction of Ann-Marie Vaz as caretaker.
In an exclusive interview with Jamaica Today on Friday, October 5, Bloomfield mocked the ‘ActionAnn’ hashtag, saying that Vaz is a fraction of what he believes is good leadership for the people of East Portland.
“I am here to serve the people who are in dire need for quality leadership and representation,” Vaz said at her introductory rally in early September, to which Bloomfield responded, “Practice is the ultimate tester of truth.”
“She’s lived here for 20-odd years, I suspect, and I have not seen her anywhere identifying with the people – making any meaningful contribution as far as I know – and I’ve been here for 30-odd years on the ground with the people,” he said.
Bloomfield, who has been elected as the MP for the last two general elections, further argued that many people in the parish don’t know her.
“Her attempts to build and to encourage is laudable but it takes, as she terms herself ‘action’, [however] it’s going to be more fraction,” Bloomfield argued, renaming Vaz’s hashtag to #FractionAnn.
His stance comes due to his reasoning that Mrs. Vaz is, “not going to be the one leading any charge to wrest this [seat] from the PNP.”
Dr Bloomfield told Jamaica Today that the PNP and his team in East Portland are prepared to take the fight to Vaz and is confident voters within his constituency will respond favourably in his direction.
Bloomfield also rubbished claims that he has not been an effective MP, adamant that he has worked assiduously for the benefit of the people within East Portland.
“We have been working, certainly since I have become Member of Parliament in the last five to six years. The road to development is the development of roads, and we have been big on infrastructure,” he said, adding that water supply, sewerage and drainage systems for Port Antonio, rural beautification, tourism and agriculture have also been among critical areas of focus in the last three years.
“We have been, through RADA (Rural Agricultural Development Agency), making sure we equip our farmers with [tools], fertilizer and creating that framework. We’ve started two new farm roads, so that our farmers can get their produce out,” he further noted.
Education has been another key focus of the politician, having awarded several scholarships to students at all levels this year alone.
Bloomfield told Jamaica Today that for the JLP to not have any clear policy in East Portland is a clear indication they pose no threat – since in the last two general elections at least, the JLP has opted for ‘home-grown’ candidates, both of which failed to put a dent in the PNP’s hold on the seat.
“I don’t see anyone being a threat and I’m not even convinced they have been trying to get home-grown people. Technically, you could say [Vaz] was here in body but not in spirit; the people don’t know her so she’s an import,” he quipped.
By Gavin Riley