FIGHT TO THE END

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Ro­mario Scott Gleaner Writer ro­mario.scott@glean­erjm.com

PNP coun­cil­lor vows to have Hanna re­moved as party stan­dard-bearer

LY­DIA RICHARDS, the St Ann mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor, who has been at the fore­front of a re­volt against her Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) col­league, Lisa Hanna, vowed yes­ter­day to con­tinue her fight to oust the St Ann South East MP, an ef­fort that she hopes will get the back­ing of the party’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil (NEC) when it meets on Sun­day.

“We are go­ing to fight to the end,” Richards told The Gleaner yes­ter­day.

“A mis­take was made (by the PNP in choos­ing Hanna at its stan­dard-bearer in the con­stituency), and we are cor­rect­ing it.”

Hanna was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment on this lat­est salvo against her.

Hanna, a for­mer Miss World beauty queen, has been a mem­ber of par­lia­ment since 2007, when she was parachuted by the PNP’s pres­i­dent, Por­tia Simp­son Miller, into the con­stituency, con­sid­ered one of the party’s safest seats, to con­test that year’s gen­eral elec­tion, de­spite the ob­jec­tions of some lo­cal or­gan­is­ers.

Sim­mer­ing ten­sions erupted into open war­fare late last year as the PNP pre­pared for last Fe­bru­ary’s gen­eral elec­tion, with three of the four mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lors in Hanna’s re­gion, in­clud­ing Richards, in­sist­ing that she be re­moved from the party’s slate of can­di­dates.

They claimed that she was un­der­handed, un­co­op­er­a­tive, and lack­ing in un­der­stand­ing the ethos of the PNP as well as un­ap­pre­cia­tive of lo­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

But Hanna has coun­tered that her crit­ics were wed­ded to old ways of politics, in­clud­ing the per­pet­u­a­tion of pa­tron­age.

The in­fight­ing wors­ened in the run-up to Mon­day’s mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions in which two for­mer mem­bers of Hanna’s con­stituency or­gan­i­sa­tion, Ver­non Williams and An­thony Simp­son, re­signed their posts to run as in­de­pen­dent can­di­dates, ini­tially styling them­selves as in­de­pen­dent PNP.

DUPED BY HANNA

In both cases, they cost PNP votes, so much in one, Williams’ Moneague di­vi­sion, that the JLP’s An­thony Kelly won the seat.

Richards sees Hanna’s hand in the ven­ture and be­lieves that Williams and Simp­son were duped into be­liev­ing the concept of “in­de­pen­dent PNP”.

“I am sure when those peo­ple wake up and truly re­alise that they are no longer mem­bers of the PNP, they are go­ing to be so mad,” said Richards, who re­tained her own seat for the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil’s Ben­son­ton di­vi­sion. “It is she [Hanna, who] caused all of it.” It is ex­pected that North East St Ann could be a topic of dis­cus­sion at the NEC meet­ing, where an­other Hanna mat­ter could also be broached: her pub­lic state­ment that Simp­son Miller’s re­marks in the con­stituency to heck­ling PNP sup­port­ers, which many peo­ple thought were threat­en­ing, cost the party votes in the mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

Richards hopes that she will find sup­port there for her anti-Hanna pos­ture but had al­ready made it clear that what­ever their de­ci­sion, she was in no mood for com­pro­mise.

The tra­di­tion is for MPs and di­vi­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tives in the con­stituen­cies to work closely. But Richards in­sists that that will not hap­pen be­tween her­self and Hanna, who she claims has pro­vided her di­vi­sion with lit­tle de­vel­op­ment sup­port.

“I am not hav­ing a re­la­tion­ship with her,” she said. “Ev­ery­body knows we have a prob­lem ... but I will wait un­til NEC to see what they do.”

HANNA

RICHARDS

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