Northeast Manchester PNP caretaker confident he will unseat ‘Man a Yaad’
A first-timer in representational politics and People’s National Party (PNP) caretaker for Northeast Manchester, Donald Jackson, says he remains unintimidated as he gears up to contend for a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) stronghold.
He said the constituency, headed by Audley ‘Man a Yaad’ Shaw since 1993, has been greatly under-represented and is one of the most underdeveloped constituencies.
“For someone who has sat in the chair for almost three decades and has been a very senior member of the opposite party, it is startling, the level of underdevelopment. Road infrastructure is poor, water supply is done on a partisan basis, there are areas in the community that don’t know piped water, electricity supply in some areas are way below standard, and potato production has disappeared – all under the watchful stewardship of the incumbent.”
Jackson said he remains puzzled by the favour shown to a member of parliament (MP) whose “gross neglect” is evident.
In the 2016 general election, PNP caretaker for the constituency, Valenton Wint, lost by a margin of 1,606, racking in 7,267 votes, with Shaw taking a 54.98 per cent lead. This was a downturn in results for Wint when compared with 2011, where he earned 48.22 per cent (7,789) of total votes.
“… I believe that once I do sufficient groundwork, I should be able to do more than just a good challenge. The fact is, the party has come close in the last two elections. Those figures are not insurmountable in terms of reversal, but it requires a lot of work and I am not the type of person who backs away from doing work.”
Jackson believes that anyone with the right interests, resources and will to tackle problems such as road and water, can unseat the reigning MP.
When The Gleaner questioned whether his past colleagues were not prime candidates, he cited matters of disunity among supporters and the relocation of his colleagues, following the election loss, as mitigating factors to gaining the people’s trust.
“A part of their lack of success, to be honest, is dealing with PNP; your own supporters is what would be the problem … It is to convince my own PNP family to buy into a plan for the development of the constituency … We have not had a candidate that stayed in the constituency for any long time and that is something I need to convince them on, that I will be around, win or lose … It is a question of quality representation,” said the former member of the PNP Patriots who worked on several political campaigns across the country for the party.
Having spent the last two decades in banking and finance, the graduate of the The University of the West Indies with a bachelors degree in economics and international affairs, and University of Technology with a masters in finance and international banking, said he is confident in his victory for the upcoming election.
“I am in the constituency four-five days a week, and I am willing to do the work. I have to strategically position myself to make sure that whatever the time period is, if August is the time [of the election] that I would have [covered the ground],” Jackson said.