Jefferson James, a Cuban trained engineer, has been confirmed as the United Workers Party (UWP) candidate for the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) stronghold of Portsmouth at the next general elections.
Speaking at a meeting in the town last night James, 34, said he is willing to sacrifice even his life to bring change to the area.
“I am willing and ready to sacrifice myself, sacrifice my time, my talent, my intelligence and even my life, if it may, to bring forward that change that we need here in Portsmouth,” he said. “It is high time that we stand up and take the bull by the horn and not follow the deeds of our forefathers when they say we born ‘laybar’ we die ‘laybar’.”
James has a tough mountain to climb. The DLP has dominated Portsmouth for the past fifty years and the town is home to the Douglas’, one of Dominica’s long serving political families. The constituency is presently being served by Ian Douglas for the DLP. Prior to that, the persons who served in that capacity were Michael Douglas (Ian’s father) and Roosevelt (Rosie) Douglas (Ian’s uncle). At the time of his death Rosie was prime minister of Dominica.
But at the UWP’s meeting on Tuesday night, James appeared undaunted.
“It is too long that we have been neglected,” he stated. “We have been neglected in education, there have been only two secondary schools in Portsmouth and thank God for the Catholic secondary school at present. PSS (Portsmouth Secondary School) has to been over populated and because of that overpopulation we have the restlessness of the children. I am standing here before you, a servant to bring forth that change .”
He lamented that students from Portsmouth have to travel every day to attend the state college, which he said is causing them to fall short of their academic performance. “Their parents cannot afford to pay their fees,” he noted. “We need another state college here in Portsmouth and with this servant that stands before you today and with the Dominica A Team behind me, I can assure you this change will come to Portsmouth.”
The meeting formed part of the UWP’s ‘Coast to Coast in 25’ campaign.