The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is to decide shortly if it will give the green light for broadcaster Markland “Action” Edwards to be its standard-bearer in the election to choose the next mayor of Portmore.
While Prime Minister Andrew Holness is yet to announce when Jamaicans will go to the polls for the looming local government elections, JLP sources yesterday told the Jamaica Observer that the party is putting its candidates in place, and the question about who will represent it in the direct election for the leadership of the Portmore Municipal Council is one issue which will be settled soon.
The sources told the Observer that Edwards is among a number of people who have applied to represent the party in the Portmore mayoral election.
According to the sources, an application from Edwards for membership in the party has been tentatively accepted, but this has to be ratified by the party’s Standing Committee.
Yesterday, Edwards, the programmes manager at Gospel JA FM, told the Observer that having lived in Portmore, St Catherine, for all his life he has decided that he has the ability to move the community forward.
According to Edwards, he has a personal interest in the development of the municipality for the benefit of everyone.
He said he has listened to the complaints and cries of the people of Portmore for more aggressive and transformational leadership to get plans and projects moving at the municipal council.
“I will wait on the JLP’s Secretariat to make a decision and whatever the decision is I am sure that I can make a contribution,” said Edwards, who backs the decision of the Holness Administration to make Portmore Jamaica’s 15th parish.
“I have been watching the developments towards making Portmore a parish and I commended Andrew Holness and the Government for keeping a campaign promise,” he said.
“I am also pleased that they have established a joint select committee of Parliament to discuss the issue so that all stakeholders can have a say,” added Edwards as he declared that Portmore is poised to be a model parish.
Portmore is the only municipality in Jamaica in which the chairman of the council is elected directly to serve as mayor.
Since 2003 when George Lee was elected the first mayor of Portmore on a People’s National Party (PNP) ticket, that party has lost the direct election only once, 2007, when Keith Hinds won on a JLP ticket.
Hinds went on to lose to Lee in 2012 and to the sitting mayor, the PNP’s Leon Thomas, in 2016, but the history in what many have dubbed PNP country is not a worry for Edwards.
“All things are possible and no seat is considered a safe seat as far as the electors are concerned, as we saw in the most recent general election,” declared Edwards.
The PNP lost many seats that were considered safe in the September 3 General Election, including Kingston Central, Westmoreland Eastern, Manchester Central, and most important for Edwards St Catherine South Eastern, which is part of Portmore.
Edwards has hosted programmes on Nationwide News Network, Radio Jamaica, Love FM and now presents afternoon programme The Overflow on Gospel JA FM.
He also hosts The Spotlight on Saturdays and oversees the day-to-day operations of the station. But yesterday Edwards said, while his decision to enter representational politics might lead to a reduction in his on-air time, he has received the backing of his listeners as he makes this step.