#JaVotes2016 – Know Your Constituencies: St Elizabeth

St Elizabeth South Western

Part of the Black River in the constituency

St Elizabeth South Western was among the 13 newly-created constituencies in 1959. It is considered a ‘weather vane’ constituency as it moves in tandem with the national pendulum.

Of the 12 contested general elections in the constituency, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has won five times to the People’s Nation Party’s (PNP) seven. The JLP had victories in 1959, 1962, 1967, 1980 and 2007, while the PNP had victories in 1972, 1976, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2011. With the exception of 1980 when Derrick B Sangster (JLP), defeated Donald Buchanan (PNP) by a majority of 3,020 and in 2007 when Dr Christopher Tufton (JLP) beat the PNP’s Stanley Redwood by 1,825, results from have been extremely close.

The first Member of Parliament was Charles D Wright (JLP), who defeated EV Allen (PNP) 4,398 to 4,392 – a margin of six votes. Wright served three consecutive terms before losing to the PNP’s Melford Brown in 1972. The longest-serving MP for the constituency was the PNP’s Donald Buchanan, who won consecutively from 1989 to 2002. His fourth victory meant that his JLP rival Derrick Sangster never managed to unseat Buchanan, after getting the better of him in the 1980 polls.

The JLP once again took control of the constituency in 2007 via Tufton, who was then unseated in the 2011 polls by Buchanan’s son, Hugh. The younger Buchanan’s margin of victory was a mere 13 – 9,453 votes to 9440.