Know Your Constituency: St Andrew Southern

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Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae, is located in the constituency.

By the Constituencies (Boundaries) Order 1966, under Section 67 of the Constitution of Jamaica, the number of constituencies in the parish of St Andrew was increased from six to eight. St Andrew Southern was among the newly-created constituencies in 1967.

The constituency is bounded from a point where Rousseau Road meets Maxfield Avenue, easterly along the southern side of Retirement Road to Half-Way Tree Road, south easterly along the western side of Half-Way Tree Road to Slipe Road. It then goes southerly along the western side of Slipe Road to where it meets the Kingston & St Andrew parish boundary at Torrington Bridge, then westerly and south westerly along the western and northern sides of the parish boundary to Spanish Town Road. From there it goes north westerly along the northern side of the parish boundary on the northern side of Spanish Town Road to Maxfield Avenue, north easterly along the eastern side of Maxfield Avenue to Rousseau Road at the starting point.

Of the 10 contested parliamentary general elections 1967-2011, the People’s National Party (PNP) has won nine times to the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) one. In 1967, the JLP’s Eugene Parkinson put an end to the PNP’s Vernon Arnett’s political career when he polled 4,160 to Vernon Arnett’s 3,522, a majority of 648. In 1972, Anthony Spaulding ended Parkinson’s political career in an extremely close contest – 3,658 to 3,556.

In 1976, Spaulding in a decisive victory, polled 13,927 votes to the Carol Ramsay’s (JLP) 3,131, a majority of 10,796 votes. Bustamante’s 27- year-old record (10,570 majority) over the PNP candidate SG Beresford, was laid to rest. The ‘Trench Town Rock’ as he was affectionately called, then shattered that record in 1980 when he defeated Egbert Beadle (JLP) 17,739 votes to 2,709 – a massive 15,030 majority. The fact that in 1980, the JLP won 51 of the 60 seats to take control of the Lower House, this was indeed a remarkable feat.

In 1989 and 1993, his successor Hartley E Jones was no less devastating as he trounced Earlston L Spencer (JLP), and Desmond A McKenzie (JLP) by 9,706 and 11,882 majorities, respectively.

Incumbent Member of Parliament Dr Omar Davies won the seat in a December 1993 by-election, following Jones’ retirement that November. He continued the trend of massive victory margins in the 1997 election, polling 14,084 votes to whip the JLP’s Dennis A Messias (1,206) and National Democratic Movement’s (NDM) John D Caswell (55). He has beaten Messias in the three elections since then.