#ElectionJa – Know Your Constituency: Portland Eastern

Thirty-two constituencies were fixed in the new Constitution granted to Jamaica in 1944. Portland was among the 10 parishes that were divided into two constituencies.

The constituency of Portland Eastern is bounded by the following: From a point where the Guava River crosses the St Thomas/Portland parish boundary at Macuna Hill, easterly along the St Thomas/Portland parish boundary to the seacoast, along the seacoast to the mouth of the Rio Grande at St Margaret’s Bay and along the Rio Grande to where it meets the Guava River. It then goes along the Guava River back to the starting point at the Portland/St Thomas boundary.

Portland Eastern featured in all of the 15 contested parliamentary general elections, 1944-1997. The People’s National Party (PNP) won 10 times to the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) three, and an Independent candidate, two times. It is the only constituency in Jamaica to have had an Independent candidate – Harold E Allan, winning two consecutive terms – in 1944 and 1949. Neither the JLP nor the PNP contested the Portland Eastern seat in 1944 and it was therefore left to two Independent candidates – T Adrian Gray and Allan – to take up the challenge. Allan had a convincing victory over Gray, polling 7,542 votes to 4,067. In the 1949 general election, Allan again successfully contested the seat as an Independent, polling 8,714 votes to LE Dillon’s (PNP) 4,308 – a majority of 4,406.

In spite of running on an Independent ticket, Allan had the distinction of being Jamaica’s first Minister of Finance, 1944-1953 during the JLP administration 1944-1955, a unique and remarkable achievement.

The current Member of Parliament is the PNP’s Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, who defeated the JLP’s Patrick Lee 9,316 votes to 8,070 in the 2011 polls.