Thu | Sep 21, 2017

JLP-PNP sour relationship threatens work in Rae Town

Published:Thursday | December 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson
Rosalie Hamilton (centre), councillor-designate for the Rae Town division in Central Kingston, is congratulated by supporters on Gold Street after yesterday's official count showed her winning the local government election.

She has not yet been sworn in to do the people's work, but already, residents of the Rae Town division in Kingston are being told by their Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) councillor-designate, Rosalie Hamilton, that she will not "mend" her relationship with Ronald Thwaites, the member of parliament for Kingston Central.

Rae Town falls in the constituency.

Hamilton, who appears to have thrown out the charge by JLP Leader Andrew Holness to work for the benefit of residents, made her declaration after she was confirmed the winner of the division yesterday, ensuring the JLP's control of the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation (KSAC).

"Me and him (Thwaites) don't have a good relationship, and I don't plan to mend the relationship either. I know that I will have to work independently. He hardly recognises people for the position they have, especially if they are not politically like-minded."

 

UNCLEAR EXPLANATION

 

Hamilton did not explain what caused the reason for their 'poor' relationship.

"Ms Hamilton hasn't been in political life for several years, and so I haven't had the opportunity to see her. When she was in office, I treated her with respect," said Thwaites, a People's National Party (PNP) representative.

"That's untrue," Thwaites added when questioned about her claim that he treats people differently based on their political affiliations.

He declined to comment on the claims of partisan treatment, saying only that Hamilton can explain the issues she has faced with him.

From Hamilton's own admission of how Rae Town's issues could be addressed, the two may have to interact closely.

"The division needs good representation. It needs a lot of development. Most of the things that the division needs are central-government-based. We will just have to continue to ask for help from the MP and the Government," said the incoming councillor, who previously served for two terms up to 2012 when she lost.

Following Monday's elections, Hamilton ended with 1,870 votes to 1,846 for Shawn McGregor, who was hoping to retain the division for the PNP. Ann Marie Morrison, who defeated Hamilton in the 2012 polls, did not seek re-election.

The preliminary results gave the JLP a 21-19 control of the corporation that was not certain until the final count of the division, which ended yesterday. The seat count remains the same, with Hamilton picking up six more votes to beat McGregor by 21 and return to the KSAC.

If she had lost, the corporation would have been tied at 20-20 and the mayor elected based on the popular vote, which the JLP won.

"It's the hardest election I've ever seen," she told The Gleaner. "What I expected from this election is the people's true feelings of local governance and what it represents. My campaign was based around educating the people about the role of a councillor. Going around, talking to the people, I realised they don't understand the role of a councillor from the role of a member of parliament."

She added: "I didn't expect an election that would be so tribal and forceful because I really thought we had passed that stage. If I had known that the politics was still tribal, I would have treated it differently."

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com