Thursday, March 25, 2010

Elizabeth residents react to Election Court decision

By Krystel Rolle ~ Guardian Staff Reporter ~

While some in the Elizabeth constituency are still reeling with excitement over Progressive Liberal Party member Ryan Pinder's historic Election Court win, others say it's time for the celebrations to stop and the member of Parliament-elect to begin to fulfill the promises that he made on the campaign trail.

"It's time for Mr. Pinder to get to work," said Free National Movement supporter Dennis Humes.

Humes, 50, who recently moved into the constituency, said he hopes that Pinder can deliver on his many promises.

"Now that the court has made [its] ruling, it's time to get to work," he added.

Humes was one of many in the Elizabeth constituency who responded to the Election Court ruling, which validated all five of the protest votes cast in favor of Pinder. That pushed him ahead of the FNM Elizabeth candidate Dr. Duane Sands by three votes.

The by-election's recount had ended with Sands receiving 1,501 votes and Pinder receiving 1,499 votes.

The five protest votes, however, brought Pinder's tally to 1,504 votes.

That small margin of victory is what had FNM supporter Braford Brown regretting his decision not to cast his vote during the by-election on February 16.

He said that if he and a couple of other supporters had shown up at the polls, Dr. Sands could have won.

However, the Elizabeth voter said despite his allegiance to the governing party, he would give Pinder a chance.

"I feel kind of bad that I didn't vote but I still will give Pinder a chance. I hope he could help put a stop to violence in the area and I hope that he can help with job creation," said 33-year-old Brown who is a resident of St. Zimbabwe Avenue.

Brown is one of about 1,700 registered Elizabeth voters who didn't show up to the polls to vote. He said Pinder seems like he does have some good ideas for the constituency.

Another FNM supporter, Pearlene Tinker, said she believes that Ryan Pinder may help the constituency.

"I hope so because there are plenty of hurting people around here," she said.

"I was disappointed that Dr. Sands didn't make it, but I can't be bitter against Pinder."

A couple of corners away from Tinker lives PLP supporter Escola Bell of Sandilands Village Road, who said she is overjoyed at Pinder's victory.

"He deserves it," said the 72-year-old resident.

"It wasn't his fault that those [protest] votes were cast. It was [the Parliamentary Registration Department's] fault."

Pinder, who addressed the media shortly after the Election Court justices ruled that all of the protest votes were accepted, said he is anxious to begin work in the constituency.

"We've already started some of our programs. We have the jobs skills bank already ongoing. We put together a framework for the promotion of small business within our constituency during these proceedings. So my programs are actively in full force."

He said the most pressing concerns in the constituency are related to economic success, small business growth and job creation.

"That's what my programs are based on and we've certainly began putting those in motion," Pinder added.

Bell said she hopes Pinder does his best.

"He said he would help the young people," Bell said. "I hope he shows them the way to go and how to help themselves so they just wouldn't be on the blocks. We have some young people who are just waiting on a push and I believe that Pinder is the person who would do that."

Sheniqua McKenzie, 24, who lives on an unnamed road in the Elizabeth constituency, said while she isn't really a Pinder supporter, she is satisfied that he won fairly.

She said she is looking for more improvements in the constituency, and hopes that he can follow through with his plan to help create job opportunities.

Elaine Munroe, 32, of Sandilands Road said she didn't vote, but is more than pleased with the results of the election.

Another PLP supporter, who didn't want to be named, said he can't believe that the PLP was able to withstand the "heat" of the governing party.

"They brought a lot of heat, but we overcame," said the supporter who was still in a celebratory mode after the rally on Tuesday night.

"I'm just celebrating the win. It's a happy day. I'm trying Ryan. It's Ryan's time baby."

March 25, 2010