Monday, 06 March 2023 11:45

Former West Indies cricketer Wavell Hinds announces bid to replace Lisa Hanna in South East St Ann

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Former West Indies cricketer and present cricket administrator, Wavell Hinds, has applied to become the People's National Party (PNP) standard bearer in the South East St Ann constituency, to ultimately replace current four-term Member of Parliament (MP) Lisa Hanna, who has indicated that she will be leaving representational politics.

Last August, Hanna issued the shocking announcement that she will not be offering herself to represent the PNP in the next general elections, which are constitutionally due in 2025.

In a Facebook post on February 27, Hinds signalled that he is the only aspirant for the seat with the support of all three PNP councillors - Lydia Richards of the Bensonton Division, Ian 'Trumpet' Bell of the Beecher Town Division, and Lambert Weir of the Claremont Division.

The retired cricketer said he also has the support of former councillor for the Moneague Division, Lloyd Garrick.

"An inspired aspirant for the constituency of St Ann South Eastern," wrote Hinds in the post which was accompanied by photographs of him, all three current councillors, and Garrick.

"The only aspirant with the solid support from ALL four (4) multi-term councillors - Comrades Weir, Garrick, Bell and Richards of each division, respectively - Claremont, Moneague, Beecher Town and Bensonton.

"Leadership is everything; thanks comrades. #comrades #socialjustice #PeoplePower #Progress," Hinds concluded.

Hinds is no stranger to politics, having ran for the PNP in East Hanover in the September 3, 2020 General Elections.

The cricketer polled 4,420 votes in his defeat to the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP's) Dave Brown, who polled 5,926 votes.

While Hinds is the latest to publicly declare his intention to run for the seat, there has been no indication from PNP Women's Movement President, Patricia Duncan-Sutherland, who sources have claimed to spotted in the constituency, and purportedly has an interest.

A check of her social media pages on Saturday by revealed no indication of any such interest in the South East St Ann seat.

Duncan-Sutherland lost twice for the PNP in South East Clarendon in the 2016 and 2020 elections, to the JLP's Rudyard Spencer and Pearnel Charles Jr, respectively.

From as early as late last year, educator Dr Kenneth Russell, who is from Pedro River in the Bensonton Division, signalled his interest in representing South East St Ann for the PNP. It is not clear if he has formally applied to run for the seat.

A check on Facebook shows that he has visited several communities in the constituency, interacting with many residents and attending events.

"(I) offer myself as a PNP candidate for MP of SESA (South East St Ann). Together, let's continue to build SESA," wrote Russell on Facebook on December 24, 2022.

A past student of Ferncourt High School in the constituency, Russell is the holder of a Doctor of Education (Ed.D) from Harvard Graduate School of Education in the United States.

In February of this year, PNP General Secretary, Dr Dayton Campbell declined to name respective persons who have applied to represent the PNP in various constituencies in the next general elections.

"The party opened the selection process for constituencies in January across the country, not just North East St Elizabeth, but across the country," Campbell said then while declining to say whether PNP Chairman for Region Five, Kern Spencer, and attorney Zulieka Jess had applied for that particular seat in St Elizabeth.

At the time, Campbell said the PNP had received applications for 57 of the 63 constituencies.

He outlined the process that is to follow after the party receives the applications.

"The persons will be evaluated by the regional panel when they go to the party's Integrity Commission.

"Thereafter, they will continue their campaigns, and then an assessment will be made as to who is the most viable candidate," he shared.

"I have always been a champion of change and having the courage to do what’s right even when it’s not expedient or self-serving, as I believe courage has an obligation to pave new roads for the generation coming behind us,” said Hanna in a letter to PNP President, Mark Golding, last year.

"As such, I have recently decided to conclude my current journey in representational politics at the end of this term," she added.

The Miss World 1993 winner won the seat in the 2007, 2011, 2016, and 2020 parliamentary polls.

"I trust this early notice will give constituency delegates adequate time to go through a selection process to select a candidate of their choice, which is their constitutional right. I remain available to serve at your consideration in the Shadow Cabinet as Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade," Hanna told Golding then.

Several political commentators blamed Hanna at the time for her own political downfall, citing controversy after controversy in the constituency, the most recent being with her longstanding ally, Councillor Ian 'Trumpet' Bell, who resigned from the constituency executive in June 2021.

Shortly after, Bell was reported to be not on speaking terms with Hanna, joining the two other PNP councillors – Weir and Richards - who from sometime before, have reportedly had no dealings with the MP.

However, it is not known whether the relationship between the MP and her councillors has since been repaired.

Interestingly, Bell was one of only two PNP councillors in the constituency who supported Hanna since a failed attempt by Richards to oust her in 2015.

Similarly, Bell supported Hanna's failed bid to become PNP president in November 2020. She lost to Golding.

Bell, in June 2021, said he resigned from Hanna's constituency executive because of issues relative to her management style.

Amid all the claims of poor leadership style and management in the PNP bastion of South East St Ann, Hanna was also criticised heavily for winning the party's once super-safe seat by a mere 31 votes in the 2020 General Elections in which the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) fielded three successive candidates on the campaign trail in the constituency.

With all the growing outrage over her stewardship in PNP circles, Hanna finally signalled the end of her parliamentary tenure approximately three years before the next national polls.