PNP cries foul over mystery audit at Padmore Primary - Hayle could be required to be at school when she should be nominated tomorrow
Members of the People's National Party's (PNP) hierarchy are crying foul after news broke yesterday of a planned audit of Padmore Primary tomorrow, when its principal Keisha Hayle is scheduled to be nominated to contest the St Andrew North West by-election.
Hayle is to be nominated for a face-off with the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dr Nigel Clarke, but the PNP insiders say she has been told by the auditors that she must be present, despite applying for a leave of absence from her post as principal at the school.
"This is the worst form of political victimisation and a vicious attack on the democracy of the country," said one PNP insider yesterday.
"We hope that it can be worked out so that she will be able to make the nomination as scheduled," the insider added, as he claimed that an official of the education ministry, who identified herself as 'Ms Phillips', went to the school last Friday and announced that the audit was to be done.
When The Sunday Gleaner contacted Hayle, she said that she would not comment, and pointed us to the leadership of the party, who were in a retreat in St Ann.
Our news team also reached out to Education Minister Ruel Reid, who directed us to his press secretary, Lisa Rowe, but her phone went unanswered.
Other JLP officials, who spoke on condition that their names were withheld, said they were unaware of any audit and that Reid gave no such instruction.
One JLP insider suggested that any audit would be one done by the Auditor General's Department and would have started since late last year.
But this was rejected by PNP officials close to Hayle, who told our news team that she was unaware of any such audit and only heard about this on Friday, after she was officially presented as the party's representative in the constituency which has been without a member of parliament since Derrick Smith resigned last month.
Jodi-Ann Gilpin contributed to this story.