#ElectionJa – Know Your Constituency: St Catherine South Western

The constituency of St Catherine South Western was among the newly-created constituencies when the number of seats for the parish was increased from five to seven in for the 1976 general election. The People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) have each won the seat four times.

The first Member of Parliament for the constituency was the PNP’s Ruddy Lawson, who defeated the JLP’s Bruce Golding 7,188 votes to 5,254. Golding, as we know, would eventually go on to become Prime Minister in 2007. The following election, in 1980 saw one Clifford Everald Warmington come to the fore, as he wrested the seat away from Lawson 9,727 votes to 6,088. Lawson came back strong in 1989 and 1993, defeating the JLP’s Michael A Williams and Warmington, respectively. The seat remained in PNP hands in 1997 as Spanish Town Mayor Jennifer P Edwards replaced Lawson, who retired from representative politics because of ill health and polled 8,267 votes to beat Warmington (7,122), the National Democratic Movement’s Icyline M Golding (632) and independent candidate WT Dawkins (55).

That election was the last defeat for Warmington, who has been returned as the MP in 2002, 2007 and 2011. His biggest victory margin came in 2007, as he polled 10,488 votes to trounce the PNP’s Dennis E Jones (7,244) by 3,244.

The boundaries of the constituency were realigned in 2010 in order to bring the number of seats up to an odd number – 63. This saw Warmington losing a chunk of the Church Pen division, as well as the entire Sydenham division – a JLP stronghold. It now consists of a part of Church Pen, along with Old Harbour Central, Old Harbour North and Old Harbour South.