Hayles takes charge of PNP’s Region Six
As was widely anticipated, Ian Hayles, member of parliament for western Hanover, was yesterday elected unopposed as the new chairman of the People's National Party's (PNP) Region Six during a delegates conference at the Mannings School in Westmoreland.
The 41-year-old Hayles, a two-time MP, replaces the veteran Dr DK Duncan, who last week announced that in an effort to avoid creating unnecessary tension in the party, he would not vie for the post in which he had served two consecutive terms.
Buoyed by the party's endorsement, which was delivered by the PNP's senior vice-president in charge of western Jamaica, Agriculture Minister Derrick Kellier, Hayles promised he would deliver all 10 seats in the region (Hanover, Westmoreland and St James) to the PNP in the impending general election.
"Based on the energy I have seen in the region in the past two and a half months, I see no way in which any labourites (JLP) can win any seats," said the confident Hayles. "We have 10 seats in the region and I strongly believe we are going to take home all 10 seats."
Despite the fallout created last week when Hayles was accused of wrongly declaring he had got the endorsement of Kellier and state minister in the Ministry of Agriculture Luther Buchanan to challenge Duncan, it appeared all was forgotten when Kellier took the stage to give the party's blessing to Hayles.
BACK TO NORMAL
"Everything is back to normal and we are operating as one team .... . All is now well," declared Kellier.
"Comrade Hayles has shown that he is up to the task and we are ready to work with him ... He has the capacity to take on huge challenges and, as a result of that, we are happy to have him as the chairman of Region Six.
Said Hayles: "I want to say to Dr Duncan and his kids, 'If you feel bad, I can understand... but we are one party and, unlike the labourites, we treat each other well'."
He added: "Today, I am promising to help Comrade Kellier to move Region Six from strength to strength ... . When I first came into the party, he was one of the persons who welcomed me sincerely and helped me to grow and find my way in the movement."