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Lisa hangs tough - Two-term MP vows to fight on as calls increase for her to be sacked

Published:Sunday | May 24, 2015 | 5:00 AMErica Virtue

Under increasing pressure from some People's National Party (PNP) supporters in her South East St Ann constituency, Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna is vowing not to give up.

"I will not be deterred in South East St Ann. The people here are part of my family. And in any family, you have members who you know dislike you, and are sitting beside you, who may want to cut your throat," Hanna told The Sunday Gleaner.

"But you have to look at the bigger picture. I am not about to capitulate. I will not be deterred, no matter what," added Hanna, who once described politics in Jamaica, especially for women, as a blood sport.

The two-term MP has lost the support of three of the four councillors in her constituency and, last week, a powerful party member in the constituency went public with allegations and reasons why she should be replaced as the PNP's standard-bearer.

While ignoring the latest allegations, Hanna hinted that all was not well with the opposition, sometimes coming from within.

 

INTERNAL CHALLENGES

 

"When we have families, we have to balance family with our work. But the blood sport comes in, where it's one thing to fight the Opposition, but what you find is that, even internally, you will have those challenges as well," said Hanna.

"Politics is what you term as wheels within wheels churning. So you have to have stealthy stratagems to always think ahead of the game, especially if you hold an elected office within the party.

"I am the region chair, and ... especially in politics in Jamaica, they love to intrigue and so you have to have discernment, emotional intelligence, and you have to be strategic and understand how to separate truth from mischief. And there is always mischief coming at you."

A relative newcomer to politics prior to 2007 when she first sought election, Hanna now believes she fully understands the political process.

"As a politician, you are constantly thinking. It's not easy. It's a constant organisation not only in your mind, but in your action, and you have to be very thick-skinned. You have to be able to know that you can be sitting beside someone who does not like a bone in your body, and who perhaps have done several things to try and make you stumble," declared Hanna.

"The total picture is greater than personalities, and you have to focus on the constituents and just love them. Once you love your people and enjoy your work, it comes easy. In spite of everything, I love the people of my constituency.

"There are days they cuss you, and cuss you raw, but at the end of the day, once you are sincere with people and they realise you are not doing it to get anything personal for yourself, and you don't need anything from politics, people will respect you for that," added the second-term MP.

The cracks in the PNP's camp in South East St Ann started to appear more than one year ago, with whispers that a group of Comrades were determined to replace Hanna.

The matter hit the front pages months later when three PNP councillors in the constituency went public with their grouses.

Councillor for the Moneague division, Lloyd Garrick; councillor for the Claremont division, Lambert Weir; and councillor for the Bensonton division, Lydia Richards, all called for Hanna to be replaced, with Richards offering herself as a possible replacement.

Since then, a prominent businessman in the constituency has gone public with several allegations which, he says, prove that Hanna has to go.