Fri | Apr 12, 2024

A Knight’s tale

PNP candidate retakes Toll Gate seat he lost in 2016

Published:Tuesday | February 27, 2024 | 3:16 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Sophia Haye, a resident of Newlands district in Clarendon.
Sophia Haye, a resident of Newlands district in Clarendon.

On Monday, People’s National Party (PNP) councillor candidate Godfrey Knight, who had long harboured hopes of being reinstated as councillor of the Toll Gate division in Clarendon South Western, exuded unwavering confidence as he anticipated victory when the polls closed and the ballots were counted – almost as if foretelling his success in the forthcoming local government elections.

Having lost his seat by a single vote to the Jamaica Labour Party’s Radcliffe McDonald in the 2016 election, Knight expressed his optimism, shortly after the polls closed, stating, “I am feeling good, and based on our numbers, I should come out on top after this election. I am elated.”

Last night, preliminary results suggested that Knight received 57.6 per cent of the votes over the incumbent Radcliffe McDonald, who polled 1,511 votes - the same number of votes he polled in the 2016 election.

Highlighting what he described as his dedicated work across the division during his tenure, Knight asserted himself as an ardent worker, saying that support from residents was critical to his efforts.

One enthusiastic supporter, Sophia Haye, said there was a collective determination to reclaim the division and emphasised their allegiance to the PNP, declared: “Wi a tek back wi division! Yah suh a PNP place.”

Said Haye: “Toll Gate division belongs to the PNP, and we come to take it back from the Labourite, so Mr Knight’s chances of wining is straight win.”

In the 2016 local government election, just over 32 per cent of the electorate exercised their right to vote. Out of 9,427 eligible voters, only 3,028 participated.

Knight secured 1,510 votes while McDonald pollled 1,511. Additionally, seven ballots were rejected during the electoral process.

On Monday, a sense of serene composure enveloped the division in stark contrast to the palpable excitement that had accompanied previous elections - a similar experience within the York Town division, also in Clarendon South Western, the Mineral Heights division in Clarendon South Eastern, and the Mocho and Chapelton divisions in Clarendon North Central.

In a noteworthy turn of events, it was a clean sweep for the constituency, having snatched another seat from the JLP – the Race Course division, which was headed by Pauline Reynolds.

Preliminary results suggest that newcomer Kijana Johnson (PNP) received 50.15 per cent of the votes to win by eight votes.

On Monday, Knight expressed satisfaction in reclaiming his “rightful position” in the division, adding that he remained relentless in his commitment to the ongoing development of the Toll Gate division.