If you have been keeping up with the news over the last month or so, you will realise that the nation is on general election watch. No official announcements have yet been made, but we are creating an election hub on diGJamaica.com with all the information you need to know about constituencies, sitting members of Parliament, political parties both mainstream and grassroots, Jamaica’s election history, voter registration procedures and much more need-to-know information.
We kick off our ‘Know Your Constituency’ series with St Andrew South Western, which is represented by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.
The constituency was created in 1959. As a result of an advancement in the Constitution, 45 constituencies were provided for Jamaica, 13 more than the 32 which had been fixed from 1944. The parish of St Andrew got three additional seats, bringing the number to six.
Of the 12 contested parliamentary general elections in St Andrew South Western 1959-2011, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has won four times to the People’s National Party’s (PNP) eight. The JLP dominated the early elections, winning in 1959, 1962, 1967 and 1972. The first Member of Parliament (MP) was David C Tavares, who polled a narrow 242 majority over Frank E Spaulding (9,494 to 9,252 votes ). His next two victories had more comfortable margins; 2,962 in 1962 over Spaulding and 3,333 in 1967 over Hopeton Cavern. Wilton Hill was the last JLP candidate to have won the seat as he polled 7,261 in 1972 to 4,020 for Jason Gordon of the PNP.
Simpson Miller first won the seat in 1976, trouncing the JLP’s Joseph McPherson 13,584 to 4,376 votes. She has only lost the seat only once, in the 1983 general election that the PNP boycotted.
The boundaries of the constituency stretch from the Three Miles area with White Wing, Majesty Gardens, Payne Land and Union Gardens, to Greenwich Farm and Whitfield Town in the Maxfield Park Road area.
Be sure to check out our election hub and follow the hashtag #ElectionJa on social media to stay up to date on all our election-related content and activities.