Dr Shane Alexis to represent PNP in St Mary South East
Prominent medical doctor Shane Alexis will be on the People's National Party's (PNP) ticket in the race to replace Dr Winston Green as member of parliament for St Mary South East, setting up another clash of doctors when a by-election is called for the seat.
Late last night, the PNP said that former president of the Medical Association of Jamaica, Dr Shane Alexis, will be contesting the by-election for the party, confirming earlier reports reaching The Gleaner last weekend.
"[The] executive just voted unanimously for Dr Shane Alexis as SE St Mary candidate! Young ppl offering themself for public service! #leadership," the PNP said on Twitter.
The development comes as Damion Crawford and Raymond Pryce, former members of parliament who were being considered by some party supporters in the constituency, have both turned down invitations to represent the party in the marginal seat.
"... The stage I am in in establishing my business and having responsibility to my investors and clients, I would not have had the time required," Pryce told The Gleaner yesterday.
The Kingston-based family doctor, The Gleaner has learnt, had preliminary discussions with some delegates and the top-tier leadership of the constituency at the weekend.
Alexis, who has had no prior associations with the PNP, at least, publicly, is a member of the board of the Gregory Mair-chaired National Health Fund.
He was appointed by Dr Christopher Tufton after the Jamaica Labour Party won the 2016 general election.
The general secretary of the PNP, Julian Robinson, when contacted yesterday on the matter, would not be drawn to disclose details surrounding the party's selection process, but said the party was preparing itself for the calling of a by-election.
"We have begun the process, but we have not concluded it as yet," Robinson told The Gleaner yesterday before the party's confirmation.
"The first phase is to finalise a candidate, put a campaign team in place, and what I am confident about is that there are PNP voters out there and we can win the elections," he added.
The PNP organisation in South East St Mary should have had a constituency conference this month, but with the death of Green, who was the chairman of the constituency, the conference has been pushed back.
Sources within the hierarchy of the PNP told The Gleaner last night that the party needed to install a candidate quickly because the party felt it was "on the back foot going into the by-election and had much groundwork to do to catch up".
Green had won the February 2016 election by only five votes following a magisterial recount.
It is expected that the JLP will place Dr Norman Dunn on its ticket to challenge the PNP for the seat.