The calls for the inclusion of more women in the political arena have intensified in recent weeks, as the nation draws closer and closer to the date of its 18th general parliamentary election. Some organisations have even called for a quota system to help level the playing field. However, not everyone is a fan of this push.
Female candidates make up 17 per cent of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) roster of candidates for Election Day 2016. Below is a brief introduction to the 11 women, some of whom are already well known:
- Fayval Williams – St Andrew East: Born in Tydixon, St Catherine, Williams is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) by profession. She has an MBA with concentration in Finance from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania and a BA (cum laude) in Economics from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a first-time candidate.
- Juliet Cuthbert Flynn – St Andrew West Rural: Another first-time candidate, this decorated sprinter is no stranger to competition. She has three Olympic medals, alongside four from the World Championships and one from the World Indoor Championships. The fitness trainer and gym operator attended Morant Bay High School and later Olney High School in Philadelphia and the University of Texas in Austin, Texas.
- Beverley Prince – St Andrew East Central: An experienced politician, Prince is making a move to the ‘big leagues’ after serving four terms as councillor for the Cassia Park Division of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).
- Juliet Holness – St Andrew East Rural: The wife of party leader Andrew Holness surprised many when she was presented as the JLP’s candidate for the seat, recently vacated by the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Damion Crawford. A trained accountant and real estate developer, she was a member of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants in the United Kingdom and also a Fellow of that body. Holness attended St Catherine High School and Wolmer’s Girls, before moving on to the University of the West Indies, where she earned a BSc in Accounting and Economics and an MSc in Accounting. She also served on the UWI’s Guild of Post-Graduate students.
- Shahine Robinson – St Ann North East: Of Lebanese descent, she was born Shahine Elizabeth Fakhourie in Claremont, St Ann, the oldest of five children. She rose to national attention in 2002, when she won the by-election against the PNP’s Carrol Jackson in the traditionally ‘orange’ constituency. Her younger brother Peter is also a politician. Robinson is a past student of Immaculate Conception High School, and also has an associate degree in marketing and a diploma in public relations and marketing from Miami Dade University in Florida.
- Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange – St Catherine Central: The longtime MP will be seeking her fifth term at the helm of this constituency. Born on April 27, 1946, Grange attended All Saints Primary, Gainstead High (where she was head girl), and Ryerson University in Canada. She is the director of the Edward Seaga Research Institute, as well as a director of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Artistes and Producers (JACAP). ‘Babsy’ is also a former Minister of State responsible for information and culture, former Deputy General Secretary, former Chairman of Public Relations for the JLP, a former Senator and former Deputy Leader.
- Kerensia Morrison – St Catherine North Central: A high school teacher by profession, she is also the assistant general secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Area Council Two, the party’s candidate/caretaker in the Crescent Division of North Central St Catherine, which includes her hometown of Angels. She became a part of Generation 2000 (G2K), the JLP’s young professionals affiliate, while at Mico College.
- Dr Saphire Longmore – St Elizabeth North East: Longmore, a consultant psychiatrist, narrowly lost the Eastern St Andrew seat to the PNP’s Andre Hylton in the 2011 general election, after only six weeks of campaigning and being five months pregnant. The Glenmuir High School past student also has the distinction of the first practising medical doctor who entered a national beauty pageant and walked away with the crown of Miss Jamaica Universe in the year 2000.
- Senator Marlene Malahoo-Forte – St James West Central: After an unsuccessful run against the late Roger Clarke in 2011, the senator has set her sights on the St James West Central seat. She has been a senator since 2009, and served as State Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade from 2009 to 2012. Malahoo-Forte is also a former Resident Magistrate, who studied at the UWI, Norman Manley Law School and King’s College London. She also obtained a master’s in public administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and has lectured in criminal practice and procedure at the Norman Manley Law School.
- Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert – Trelawny South: A lawyer and businesswoman, the Trelawny South candidate first came to the fore in the 2007 polls, when she defeated PNP opponent Doneth Brown-Reid. Over the years, she has been involved in various businesses and non-profit groups. She has been secretary/director for SKDP Haulage and Distribution Ltd, Discovery Bay Garden Centre Ltd, Sherold Limited and Royal Reef Hotel. She is also very involved in her community as a member of the board of trustees for Westwood High School, a founding board member of the MoBay Hope Diagnostic and Medical Centre, as well as past chairman of the board of management for Brown’s Town Community College.
- Andrea Walters – Westmoreland Eastern: Not much information is available for this candidate, but we know she is an insurance consultant.