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‘Hanna must go!’- Comrades ignore gag order as South East St Ann battle continues

Published:Sunday | March 8, 2015 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
Hanna

Despite a gag order issued by the leadership of the People's National Party (PNP) to Comrades in St Ann South East, the battle over who should represent the party in the next general election is not cooling down.

Last week, three councillors in the constituency defied the instruction to make no further comments on the dispute by issuing a statement through a "media consultant" denouncing Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna and vowing that she will be replaced before the next general election.

The gag order was issued after a news story on CVM television last month about problems in the constituency.

In a memo, PNP General Secretary Paul Burke said he was alarmed by the public airing of internal party matters and the criticisms aired on the news, and said he was requesting no more media interviews relating to the internal issues of the constituency, no more accusations and/or innuendos.

Burke said he was fully cognisant that these are issues that the party must resolve expeditiously, and he was asking for, and fully expected, cooperation on the matter.

However, the three councillors, Lloyd Garrick (Moneague division), Lydia Richards (Bensonton division) and Lambert Weir (Claremont division), through media consultant Gary Brown, last Friday issued a statement outlining issues they claimed were affecting their relationship with the member of parliament.

 

Unaware of gag order

 

Richards later told The Sunday Gleaner that she had only just received a letter from the party asking her to refrain from speaking about the issue, while Brown said he was unaware of any gag order. Attempts to contact Garrick were unsuccessful.

When contacted, Hanna declined to speak further about the dispute, only saying she is "confident of the support of the people in the constituency".

However, the release from the councillors made it clear that they believe Hanna's time has come.

"It is our shared belief that not only has Ms Hanna lost the respect and trust of those that were there with her when she became MP in 2007, but she has lost all credibility and will not have that critical support going forward," said the councillors in the release.

"Painting a picture of being transparent and above board, Ms Hanna had no problem maligning her councillors, throwing us under the proverbial bus and giving the people the impression that we have misappropriated money she has given us to spend," added the release.

Richards has already indicated an intention to challenge Hanna for the right to represent the party in the next general election, a challenge that the two-time MP has said she will accept gladly.