Shane ready to shine - Political neophyte looking to hang on to SE St Mary for the PNP
When Dr Shane Alexis returned to Jamaica after completing medical studies in Cuba, his first job was at Annotto Bay Hospital in St Mary.
After careful consideration and having received permission from family and friends to go, Alexis has jumped into political deep sea, and the medical doctor believes that it is fitting that his political career is also beginning in St Mary.
Outside of visiting Castleton Gardens, Alexis has no other connection with St Mary, but he says he is connected to Jamaicans everywhere by being a medical doctor.
According to Alexis, he does not ask patients where they live or what party they support before treating them, as his main purpose is to make them well. He is promising to be the same in politics as he moves to represent the People's National Party (PNP) in St Mary South East.
The seat became vacant with the sudden death of Dr Winston Green, and Alexis, a surprise choice, was hand-picked by the leadership of the PNP to attempt to retain the seat for the party whenever a by-election is called.
"We can't all just throw up our hands and walk away. Jamaica needs professionals who are willing and able to offer themselves for service. For me, it's country first.
"I have offered myself because I do not believe in taking a hands-off approach. I believe in service and I have answered a call to participate in nation building," Alexis told The Sunday Gleaner.
"I am walking into politics with my integrity, and when I leave I am going to leave with it intact. I know that everyone can serve in many different ways, and politics is just one way.
"I am not about to become tribal just because of my entry on to politics. And this vicious cycle of persons making villains of good people must stop because there are many good persons in politics offering service to Jamaica," added Alexis.
He argued that Jamaica needs committed and constructive persons to enter the political process.
"I would remind everyone that bringing down politicians does not help to build the country. The kinds of problems facing Jamaica right now call for professionals to be constructive and uplifting instead of tearing down. So I would say that Jamaica needs greater commitment to nation building from more young professionals."
According to Alexis, the constituency requires active hands, minds and bodies to be called to action, to deal with issues affecting young persons, such as education and skills training, as well as agriculture and infrastructure development.
"Education is a critical part of youth development and skills development. Education is key to individuals being able to perform at their best. And that is the foremost concern for the young persons with whom I have interacted," said the newcomer to representational politics.
"A lot of persons are afraid of the word 'politics', and maybe there are truths about lots of the aspects of politics, some good and some not so good. But the democratic aspect of politics is very much alive and well.
"It's something that I would like a lot more persons to see for themselves and determine how they would like to participate, but ultimately to vote," added Alexis, who is expected to face the Jamaica Labour Party's Dr Norman Dunn when the by-election is called.