Powell to take on JC
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
FORMER West Indies pacer Daren Powell made a giant step toward becoming the first Comrade to represent North West St Elizabeth since 1993, after getting the blessing of delegates at a constituency selection yesterday.
Powell, who is currently the councillor for the Malvern division in neighbouring South East St Elizabeth, scored a landslide victory over Everton Hannam in the run-off by 100 votes in an election in which 172 persons voted.
But standing in his way is the Jamaica Labour Party's William J.C. Hutchinson, who has held the seat since 1997.
The last person to represent the constituency for the PNP was Mel Brown, who stopped the advance of Neville Lewis in 1993. Brown, however, became a one-term member of parliament after Hutchinson shifted from North East St Elizabeth to upstage him in the 1997 polls.
Using cricketing analogy, Powell told The Gleaner he was not going to get carried away by his selection as the party's standard-bearer.
"You go into the nets, you don't count your wickets in the nets, you work on your mechanics and your skill there so that you can get rewards. It is the same thing in the political circle. If you don't do your political groundwork, you can't be victorious," Powell said.
"I want to lead in a positive way and what I need to do now is mobilise the people in the constituency and do my political work, which is key to any victory. I believe I have a lot of work to do. It's a very big constituency and I believe that if I spend the time out there and put in the work, there will be rewards," added Powell, who represented the West Indies in 37 Tests between 2002 and 2009.
Hutchinson, however, told The Gleaner he would have no problems dispatching Powell to the boundary.
"He is the least of the lot that has come," Hutchinson said.
"He is coming as a councillor from a division which he can't win again, and he is going into the bigger league which is going to be a devastating test for him," he added.
Powell won the Malvern division for the PNP in the 2012 local government elections by 368 votes.
Hutchinson, on the other hand, having escaped with a 244-vote win over Stanley Redwood in 2002, saw a 1,625 majority cut nearly in half in the last election, which he won by 866 votes.