Sat | Sep 23, 2017

I will walk with my bat - Palmer

Published:Thursday | February 11, 2016 | 2:00 AM

In 1991, Dixeth Palmer turned up for the senior national trials and was having a horrid time with the bat.

This was supposed to be his breakthrough year, but the bowlers were making his life miserable.

"It was so much of a challenge for me going into the Jamaican team at that time. I remember my last trial game, even after not performing well for the first trial game, and I thought, more than likely, it was an uphill task when I was against [Courtney] Walsh, [Patrick] Patterson and Franklyn Rose in my last game, looking a game for Jamaica. I never say never," Palmer said.

"I actually went out there with determination, and that innings brought me 144, and they could not prevent themselves from including me in the team. Even though I may be looked upon as the underdog, in terms of me coming at this time, timing itself is my greatest asset. The other assets is that I am a local boy," the JLP parliamentary aspirant said.

Palmer was nominated Tuesday to face the People's National Party's Dr Wykeham McNeill in Western Westmoreland, a seat that has not voted for the Jamaica Labour Party since 1983.

Palmer, who made the Jamaican cricket team as opener at the expense of Wayne Lewis, said he stepped forward to represent the constituency because he felt strongly about turning around "the years of neglect in the constituency".

McNeill, a four-term MP, won the seat by 3,680 votes in 2011, polling 8,940 votes to the JLP's Carey Wallace, 5,260. Before that, he won by a 2,381-vote margin in 2007 and 3,354 in 2002.

"I look back to that final practice game in terms of inspiration. If I have done it there, I should be able to do it again," Palmer said.

Only 47.7 per cent of the 29,879 registered voters cast ballots in 2011. The list has since swollen to 33,263 electors.

"I have targeted the large percentage of young voters," he said while indicating that the areas he intends to accumulate his runs.

"I walk with my bat because I am concerned it will be a hundred or a double century [if I win]."

In addition to Palmer, Darren Powell, a former Jamaica West Indies cricketer, is seeking to make it to Gordon House. Powell will be nominated on the PNP ticket in North West St Elizabeth to contest the JLP's J.C. Hutchinson.

"I applaud the move because I know Darren personally, and I think the country, in terms of leadership and governance, requires people with a certain level of integrity," Palmer said.

"That in itself, I consider an honour. Darren has chosen a party of his choice, and offering his service is paramount," Palmer said.

Powell told The Gleaner that it was a good feeling to see Palmer, like him, stepping up and offering himself to lead a constituency.

"As a former cricketer, and hearing of another former cricketer wanting to put his foot forward in wanting to serve his constituency or doing something to uplift people's lives and to build a better country, it is a very good feeling," Powell said.

Juliet Cuthbert, a double-Olympic silver medalist, was also be nominated on Tuesday. She is to face the PNP's Paul Buchanan in West Rural St Andrew.