‘Payne will go’
Speaking on her national platform in Orange Hill, St. James, Sandiford-Garner said the 13,098 votes she took from Payne last election would pale in comparison to the damage she was going to do this time around, when she took the remaining 43 to secure her seat in the House of Assembly.
“You can wear your red and you can carry your message, but de 43 votes done gone. It gone, gone, gone,” she said, in reference to a number of BLP supporters who turned up at the meeting in red shirts and two trucks bearing Payne’s red stickers and posters.
“As of today, the constituency poll, because they did a national poll, and the constituency poll tells you that in AE1, George Payne – 0, Irene Sandiford-Garner – 7, Undecided – 5. So even if the undecided wake up on February 21 and decide to mark a big X next to George Walton Payne, [it] gone so tek dat, BB dat.
“I see you in your red and the gumption you have to come to our meeting because dear loving people don’t run anybody, we welcome everybody. But understand that I got de gumption too and I know when ya done ya gine vote for me,” she said, bouncing on the platform as she passionately addressed the cheering crowd.
Telling them that she would now return to being the person they knew, “the decent Irene”, the Democratic Labour Party candidate said she was proud to be a member of the party which she loved from the time she was nine, licking stamps for former MP Arlington DaCosta Edwards.
She said she had learnt from the example of Edwards, who had sought to educate many of the young people of the constituency through lessons and other activities.
“The majority of the people in this constituency benefitted from an individual who believed that education empowered people. So that is the template of politics I follow. When you look at me and understand that I am the duly elected representative on the 22nd, recognise that I bring a different philosophy to politics.
“Empowerment of my people is my objective. I have practised it for the past five years, even though I was not the representative. I did not win, I lost by 43 votes, but I gave my word to the people of St. Andrew and I said this constituency would be represented by me,” she stated.
Payne, she argued, had not given any kind of representation to the people for the last ten years and the $10,000 he made over that time as MP needed to be replaced in the Treasury.
“$10,000, times 12 times 10, needs to be put back in the Treasury, because at no time can you see … the visible manifestation of representation in this constituency.
“Now I will understand when people say he gave them jobs, but you gave the Member of Parliament a job as well, that is why he is paid a salary. He was given a job to open his mouth and stand up for you. He was given a job and paid very well to stand up for you whether his BLP was in government or not but he decided he was not driving a stroke because he felt entitled to be idle and you facilitated it.
“I say tonight that the facilitation has to come to an end because this country needs representatives who understand what advocacy is and who understand what standing up for their people means. Therefore, George Walton Payne will go,” said Sandiford-Garner. (LB)