Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Ian Hayles blames PNP insiders for election loss

Published:Sunday | November 22, 2020 | 8:25 AMMark Titus - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Hayles
Hayles

Still smarting from his loss to political neophyte Tamika Davis of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the September 3 general election, Ian Hayles, the People’s National Party (PNP) caretaker for Western Hanover, believes factions among Comrades in the constituency made a greater contribution to his defeat than anything spectacular from his opponent.

Hayles was seeking his fourth term as member of parliament (MP), but only polled 4,999 votes to Davis’ 6,028. He dismissed the suggestion that complacency might have led to his fall at the hands of the popular attorney-at-law.

“I slept well on the night (of the election) because I knew that I gave of my best. But there were some forces, there were factions within; the constituency was divided,” Hayles told The Sunday Gleaner.

“On election night, my team around me was crying, but I stood there smiling because I did not see any spectacular campaigning by the JLP. So, frankly, it wasn’t the Labour Party that beat me, it was the People’s National Party supporters that beat me.”

He continued, “I returned home (from overseas) to serve my country and I was asked by Comrade Portia Simpson Miller to come to Hanover, and 13 years later, I can say that I am proud of the achievements I have made in Hanover. There is no other MP that has done as much as I did in terms of infrastructure and work, and I managed to achieve this under two terms of the JLP and one term of PNP government.”

Over his three terms as MP, none of the constituency’s political representatives at local-government level have managed to serve beyond one term, but Hayles does not believe that this should be associated with his leadership style. According to him, his public spats with his councillors were because of his demand for a higher standard of representation, and nothing personal.

“Hanover is a rough place to do politics, and a great quote from D.K. Duncan before he died is that ‘If they are not overthrowing you, they are underthrowing you’. But I share some of the blame in terms of the relationship with some of my councillors, because I am passionate about what I do,” the former government state minister said.

“Some of the persons selected to run on the PNP ticket weren’t the best candidates, and for that I take responsibility, but I have led the best way that I could lead.”

NO POLITICS FOR MY WIFE

Hayles rubbished reports that his wife will be seeking to join him in the political arena, but did not deny or admit that he was eyeing a switch to central Westmoreland.

“My family is not involved in politics, and will never be, certainly not my wife. My wife is a businesswoman who enjoys impacting lives quietly, and that is all she cares to do,” he stressed.

“Politics is rough, there is no thank you in representational politics, no matter what you do. You would want even a thank you at times, even though you don’t expect it.”

He added, “For me, Westmoreland is my place of birth, it’s near and dear to me and that is where I should have gone when I entered politics. But I am the caretaker for Western Hanover at this time. However, early next year, I am going to make a decision as to where I go in terms of representational politics.”

Hayles shared that his family was pleading with him to walk away, but he believes there is still work for him to do before calling time on his political career.

“I supported Mark Golding (for PNP president) because, while both were excellent candidates, I believe that he is best suited to lead the rebuilding process. But I don’t want to be senator, I just want to help in the rebuilding of the party,” he said. “That means that the supporters on both sides will come together behind the president and build a stronger PNP for the future. The party’s best days are ahead of it. Even though there is still some bloodletting going on, it will come back.”

SET TERM LIMITS

Hayles, the sitting chairman for PNP’s region six, is firm in his belief that there should be term limits at every level of politics, which guided his decision to challenge the late D.K. Duncan for the leadership of the region six in 2015.

“I have always said that in politics you should have term limits, and Jamaica also needs to establish an age limit for politicians and let the new blood come on board,” he said.

“At the time of the challenge, I was in my 40s and Comrade Duncan was in his late 70s. So, when would have been a right time for my generation to get a crack at improving on what we have seen?”

Hayles added, “There are a lot of things that have gone wrong, but in politics and government there should be term limits, because, if there were term limits in the party and everyone knew that you had a revolving door, some of the issues that exist today would not be facing us now.”

mark.titus@gleanerjm.com