Shand: I’m done with politics - Losing independent candidate in St Ann NW says vote-buying played role in election
Peter Shand, the independent candidate who contested the St Ann North Western seat in the September 3 general election, has raised allegations of vote buying by persons aligned to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the constituency in last week’s general election.
Shand told The Gleaner that he witnessed instances where persons were being paid to cast their votes, some of which he has recorded.
“If mi neva witness dem, mi wouldn’t believe. I’ve never seen such blatant dishonesty in history. That means it’s not conscience vote again; it’s money. If that is going to be the guide to the way forward, we’re in serious trouble,” he said.
Shand, who secured 783 ballots to the JLP’s Krystal Lee’s 7,821 and the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Dayton Campbell’s 5,783, believes that the tally would have been different if it were not for the alleged illegal practice.
“I thought the numbers could be better if it hadn’t been for the purchasing of the votes. I’ve done things on the ground which should have put me through or even get me a little closer. But mi couldn’t manage the buying of the votes. Mi nuh have that kind of money. Mi would get a whole heap more votes because people have no interest in them (PNP and JLP),” he said.
He said that while he was not pleased with his showing in the contest, he was not “overly disappointed”.
Shand, a former PNP backer who decided to break ranks and run as an independent, was asked if he was happy that PNP candidate Campbell lost.
“No, that was not my intention. I didn’t care if him lose or win,” he responded. “That wasn’t my intention because I never go in with no vendetta to say I’m trying to make him lose ... because I have nothing against him, nothing at all against him.
“The only thing I have against him, he was not representing our people well, and I would not like to see him back there as an MP because he wasn’t doing a good job. And I still maintain that.”
A businessman with several business interests in St Ann North Eastern, Shand indicated that his days in politics are now over.
“I wouldn’t go back as an independent candidate. It’s an expensive venture, and I don’t think I would want to be a part of the PNP again, and I wouldn’t go to the Labour Party. I’m done with politics. I’m not interested in politics because the people are very ungrateful and deceptive,” Shand said.