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Local Gov't Election: Portmore mayoral candidates each confident of victory

PNP's Leon Thomas, JLP's Markland Edwards and independent candidate Howard Hamilton
 
Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas, who is fighting to retain his seat, has expressed confidence that he will be returned as mayor.
 
Mr. Thomas, who spoke with journalists after casting his ballot in the Local Government Election on Monday, said he was feeling as bright as the Portmore sun and optimistic about his outlook. 
 
"As you see the sun, that's how I feel. The sun is very bright and I'm very bright and I'm happy that the sun is shining. I am confident that the people of Portmore will return Leon Thomas to the chair," he said. 
 
But Mr. Thomas also shared concerns about the process at some polling stations in the municipality. 
 
"I've got a report that some of the presiding officer is saying (sic) to the personnel when they come in to vote, they have a choice if they want the mayor ballot or they want councillor ballot. I don't think that is supposed to be done. I think that they should offer them both ballots and let the people decide for who they want to mark for," asserted the People's National Party incumbent.
 
The Portmore Municipal Corporation is a major target of the Jamaica Labour Party.
 
JLP candidate for the mayoral race in Portmore, Markland Edwards, has said he stands a solid chance of defeating the incumbent Mayor, Leon Thomas.
 
"I have a chance because the people of Portmore, they are in need of better representation, better planning and of course a whole lot more that can be done. We want a municipality that is not just controlled by someone who is not visible. We want visibility, we want access to our mayor and that is the reason I put up myself to serve the people of Portmore so they can get representation, better planning when it comes on to business coming into the Portmore space, better road infrastructure.
 
"And again, the main complaint people are having in Portmore, they want the garbage to be collected on time, they want better streetlights, they want water in their pipes and they want better investments coming into the space."
 
No 'heart' for Hamilton
 
Meanwhile, independent mayoral candidate Howard Hamilton has raised concerns about the change in the symbol he requested to be included on ballot papers in the Local Government Election. 
 
Mr. Hamilton told our reporter Kelesha Williams that he selected the 'heart' for his symbol but instead when he arrived to vote at Silverstone Basic School on Monday morning, he found a star. 
 
"I hope that doesn't cause any confusion amongst my supporters [as] I have been telling them to 'Have a heart, vote Howard,'" he said, adding that he was disappointed the Electoral Office of Jamaica did not inform him of the change. 
 
Despite his disappointment, Mr. Hamilton said he will not file a complaint at this time.   
 
Like the candidates representing the PNP and JLP, Mr. Howard said he, too, stands a "very, very, very good chance" of becoming the next Mayor of Portmore. 
 
"The only thing that the two parties had over me was financial resources. But I've been there speaking to the people. I'm listening to them. And what I gather, I have a very good chance of being the next mayor of Portmore, come tomorrow morning," he said. 
 
"Based on what I've seen on the ground, a lot of the citizens are not happy with the governance of the community. They're not happy with what has been put forward on the table by the PNP and by the JLP... I believe that I have put in the body of work, and unlike any independent I have done the work to ensure to bring the voters out," he added. 
 


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