'Simmo', the Politician
We all knew how long Miss Lurline had served the party and felt that her time
had come. She was going up against a man called Cedric (Simmo) Simpson. Simmo
had just returned home after several years in the United States. He was a man
in his late forties while Miss Lurline was a woman in her mid-forties. Both of
them were vying to be caretaker-candidate for the parish council division which
was made up of the villages of Keswick, Norris and Dudley. There was a belief
that the elections would soon be called. Both of them had been doing house to
house canvassing. We felt that Miss Lurline would win the delegates from
Keswick and Norris. Simmo was from Dudley so we expected him to carry those
delegates. Although Dudley was bigger than either Keswick or Norris both
communities combined had more delegates.
So that Sunday evening we boarded Danny Pinter’s truck and headed for Keswick
High School, where the selection would be held.
“Miss Lurline win this one for sure,” a man called Keeble Harris stated.
“Miss Lurline all the way, they can’t rob her this time,” a woman named Carlene
Miss Lurline had lost out in two runoffs to be the divisional representative.
Both of her opponents had lost out to Hepburn Binger in the parish council elections.
A canvas had been done a month ago showed her leading both Simmo and Binger.
Other vehicles were in the convoy. Miss Lurline had gone ahead to make sure
that everything was all right.
We reached the school at three o’clock that evening. We could see
several vehicles there already. Before we left for the assembly hall, we
saw several more vehicles arriving and also some people on foot.
People were already in the assembly hall and at three thirty the meeting got
Several party functionaries as well as Miss Lurline and Simmo addressed the
Finally, it was time for the delegates to vote. Things became tense as both
sides felt that they would win easily. Then the announcement was made and Simmo
had won by ten votes.
Simmo’s supporters went wild with joy. Miss Lurline’s supporters were calling
for a recount of the votes. They were grumbling and saying they would not
support the party again.
When we were returning, we stopped at Miss Lurline’s shop and bar.
“Miss Lurline, let them stay. Simmo can’t beat Binger,” a man called Willy
Miss Lurline didn’t say anything; she was still digesting what had happened.
“Jesus Christ, is what you do them, Miss Lurline? Why they hate you so? You are
the best candidate for up here and yet they won’t give you a chance,” a woman
named Norma Sinclair declared.
“They are a waste of time. I’m not voting for them again,”Keeble Harris stated.
I was down at Miss Lurline’s shop when Simmo came through two days later. He
bought us drinks. I knew that he was trying to get Miss Lurline to work with
Soon Simmo was going the rounds, buying drinks for everybody and
sponsoring cookouts. He was at dances, buying liquor and food for the patrons.
He was at burying yards, setups, funerals and nine nights and even
turning-outs. Simmo was also a good domino player. He came to cricket matches
in his cricket uniform and football matches dressed like a player. He also
sponsored both cricket and football competitions.
I saw him one day and asked him how things were going.
He told me that most of the people were now supporting him.
I had to agree with him. He couldn’t go anywhere and you didn’t see Keeble
Harris, Norma Sinclair or Carlene Davey with him.
“Simmo is going to give Binger the beating of his life,” Keeble told me one
day. He was drinking a beer and eating some curry-goat.
“Simmo buy them out with liquor and food,” a woman named Lela Summers told me a
little later, that day.
It seems strange how easily these people had come around. Maybe what Lela told
me was true. People were voting with their bellies and maybe that’s why Miss
Lurline wasn’t making it. She just didn’t have the money for although she had a
shop it had always done poorly. Simmo on the other hand, had returned to the
island laden with cash as a result of some good real estate
investments both in the United States and Jamaica.
Binger was also doing the rounds
too, like he’d always done. He turned up at most functions and spent freely. He
boasted that he had the keys to victory.
“Simmo not ready for this yet, this
is bigger than him. He’s just wasting his time,” he told me.
“He’s spending a lot of money,” I
“I told him that he should save his
money. No amount of money can win this election for him.”
I was surprised at the amount of
heavyweight politicians, both parties brought in to support their candidate.
Binger was successful on the night of the elections, beating Simmo by less than
fifteen votes. At the recount the margin of victory dropped to ten. Simmo
demanded a magisterial recount and overturned Binger’s victory celebrations by
five votes. Binger threatened to take
the matter to court, but he never did.
Austin's blog: stredwick.blogspot.com