PNP eyes full sweep of parish coun­cils in lo­cal gov’t elec­tions

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Ro­mario Scott Gleaner Writer ro­mario.scott@glean­

THE PEO­PLE’S Na­tional Party (PNP) cam­paign direc­tor for lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, Noel Arscott, said the party would again sweep all 14 parish coun­cils when­ever the elec­tions are called.

“We are go­ing to re­tain all of them. We will have some chal­lenges in a few, but I am con­fi­dent that we will be re­turned in all of them,” he said.

Speak­ing with The Gleaner yes­ter­day, Arscott said that the party had al­ready kicked off its cam­paign ac­tiv­i­ties, but the threat of Hur­ri­cane Matthew caused some de­lays.

“All lo­cal gov­ern­ment can­di­dates are in place, and there is no mess. We still have a lit­tle is­sue here and there, but cer­tainly, we have man­aged the process and won’t have the kind of blowout that we saw re­cently,” Arscott said in ref­er­ence to the is­sues that marred the party’s prepa­ra­tion for the Fe­bru­ary 25 gen­eral elec­tion.

The cam­paign direc­tor stated that he would achieve the up­hill task by high­light­ing the per­for­mance of his coun­cil­lors and care­tak­ers and work done by the parish coun­cils on a whole.

“We have done leg­isla­tive work. We have done a lot of work in terms of in­fra­struc­ture. We have done over 1,000km of road work; we have cleaned out drains; we com­pleted some bus parks; and we also did re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion work at Black River, St El­iz­a­beth,” Arscott, a former lo­cal gov­ern­ment min­is­ter, said.

As it re­lates to the mat­ter of the qual­ity of can­di­dates that will be on the PNP’s slate, Arscott said that there was a mix­ture of can­di­dates. He said that among the group were pro­fes­sion­als who he claimed would bring high-qual­ity rep­re­sen­ta­tion at the lo­cal gov­ern­ment level.

“We have a process that we use to vet the can­di­dates, so it’s not like we just pick up per­sons off the street to rep­re­sent the PNP,” he noted.

Though com­ing out of a bruis­ing vi­cepres­i­den­tial race, The Gleaner un­der­stands that los­ing vice-pres­i­den­tial con­tender Lisa Hanna will be given a crit­i­cal role in the up­com­ing lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion to prove her worth.

The is­sue was not one that Arscott was pre­pared to dis­cuss in de­tail, but he said that it was his hope that Hanna would be able to show, this time around, that she could at­tract young peo­ple to the PNP.

“I ex­pect her to use this cam­paign to demon­strate what she can do, po­lit­i­cally,” Arscott pointed out, while not­ing that he was dis­ap­pointed when Hanna as youth min­is­ter was not able to mo­bilise vol­umes of young peo­ple to the PNP in the last gen­eral elec­tion.


Arscott also said that PNP vi­cepres­i­dent Wyke­ham McNeill would play a big role in the west, where it is un­der­stood that at least two parish coun­cils could be taken out of the con­trol of the op­po­si­tion party.

In the mean­time, he noted that he would be re­ly­ing on the tra­di­tional donors to the po­lit­i­cal party to help raise funds to chal­lenge the Ja­maica Labour Party in the lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tion.

While ac­knowl­edg­ing that the funds may not come eas­ily as there are ques­tions sur­round­ing the party’s in­tegrity in han­dling donor funds, the cam­paign direc­tor said he would be mak­ing an ap­peal to the donors.

“We are dis­cussing the pos­si­bil­ity of nam­ing per­sons who are au­tho­rised to col­lect money on be­half the party,” he said, at the same time adding that can­di­dates could still so­licit monies for their per­sonal cam­paign.


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