JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) Member of Parliament (MP)-elect for Kingston Central Donovan Williams says his first order of business for the depressed constituency is a social housing programme.
After years of steady representation by People’s National Party (PNP) Members of Parliament since the creation of the constituency, Williams, an attorney-at-law, managed to pull off a convincing win over the PNP’s Imani Duncan-Price in last Thursday’s general election.
Williams polled 4,623 votes to Duncan-Price’s 4,147 votes in the preliminary count.
Noting that he has been “flying under the radar” in the constituency since February, Williams said that it was his campaign, which centred on “impact and economy for impact”, that made the difference.
He said he had embarked on several projects in the largely low-income constituency, which is riddled with slums, that residents grew to appreciate.
National polls aside, he now has his sights set on the redevelopment of the constituency, which includes the downtown Kingston geographical area that has already been earmarked for redevelopment.
“The Government is high on social housing and that is primarily what we will be focusing on in Central Kingston,” Williams divulged in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Saturday.
“As you would have seen, there is some development already taking place and so our plans for the constituency fits perfectly into the overall central government plan for the space. So we are in the best position now to solve the problem of infrastructure deterioration. We’re in the best position for take-off,” he added.
He also pointed to the Allman Town community, which is home to some 10,000 residents, according to the Social Development Commission, where a “major project” is scheduled to commence.
“There is a major project on the table for the Allman Town area, that’s the Heroes’ Circle project, which will also include housing development. So this is the best opportunity now for Central Kingston to really and truly rise,” said Williams, brother of Kingston’s Mayor Delroy Williams.
Stressing that “a new day has dawned” in the constituency, following his historic victory in an election that saw his party commanding 48 of Parliament’s 63 seats, Williams said that he will be relying heavily on his younger brother’s experience in politics to navigate his new role.
“Whether or not he’s my brother, I’ll be lobbying him, too, and I know he’ll be lobbying me because he has projects, too, that he’ll be putting on the table. So we have to work coherently to see how best we can develop downtown — him in his capacity as mayor of Kingston and me in mine as Member of Parliament,” he said.
Ultimately, he said his goal is for the constituency to become self-sustaining, where residents, with his guidance, create opportunities for themselves and their families.
“I decided that I’m not going to come here and have no legacy or nothing to show for my time as MP. So I said, ‘Look here, I have to start from early,’ so I did little projects that I could afford to get done with the constituents, and the projects started to have an impact on the constituency. It was to get the constituency going and to show them they are the ones who will take it from where it is to where they want it to be,” said Williams.
“I wasn’t on social media making up a lot of noise. I worked on my ground game. I think I broke with modern tradition by not being a part of the social media hype or fanfare. I stuck to the ground and showed residents that I have their interest at heart,” he added.
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