Move over, George!

Irene Sandiford-Garner
Irene Sandiford-Garner

DLP candidate for St. Andrew Irene Sandiford-Garner, has a vision for that constituency which “unfolds every day”.

And she said after the poor level of representation from the incumbent, if “the people of St. Andrew are ready to come into the 21st century, I am the representative who can do that”.

Speaking to the media after paying her $250 election deposit to the Treasury Department, she said that she was not disgraced in her first attempt in 2008 as she had only lost to George Payne by 43 votes, whereas Dr. Denis Lowe in his 2003 bid for that rural seat was defeated by 1,400 votes.

“To be able to come as a first timer and someone who had never really been active in the political fray, was always in the background, so to come as a first timer to take away 1,398 votes from an incumbent … told me that there were just as many people who voted for him as they voted for me,” she said.

Noting that she was the first candidate since 1987 to contest the seat twice as the others had left to run in other constituencies, Sandiford-Garner said she had given the people of St. Andrew five years to make a decision.

“My Prime Minister allowed them to have five years to determine if George Payne is the representative for them. He has had five years even though his government was not in power, he would still have had leverage to do things and to represent even if it would be on the floor of the House of Assembly on behalf of those people and in those five years, those people can tell you that his representation still was not up to standard.

“I kept myself in a way that could get things done, I kept the faith with my colleagues and once you have good relationships with your colleagues even though you might not have a portfolio or have a seat you are then able to deliver on certain areas,” she said.

What the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Health also said was that she asked her colleagues “to work for me because our government was in” to improve roads neglected for 48 years, build footpaths from the primary school to the Rocklyn bus service that would have been “a little matter that would have made a major difference to the sense of peace and well-being of parents” whose children use the road,

She also said that natural gas would be provided in Orange Hill which “residents had been asking for since I suppose the MP was a child”.

“I just cannot understand how, if you are in touch with your people, that it is so difficult to deliver on minor issues. The incumbent would have known of the Belleplaine area where we had no clinic. The clinic was shut for seven years. You pass up and down and see the vine choking the building and within eight months of my being assigned to the Ministry of Health, I was able to have some money, through the Minister of Health, allocated to the refurbishment of that clinic and now the people and the children, because we have over 800 children in that catchment area, … to service a community once again,” Sandiford-Garner said.

The elderly residents also benefit from having a clinic nearby.

“There is nothing in St. Andrew with George Payne’s name on it; there is no legacy. I, in the little time that I have been the candidate, have my name on a clinic as being responsible because the minister ordinarily would have his name on that marble. The minister, being the fair and just man that he is, allowed me to open [it] because he knew that I was the person who would have pushed for it to be opened,” the DLP candidate said. (DS)

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