Shand: I’m not trying to split PNP votes - Independent candidate says St Ann NW deserves better than Dayton Campbell
Peter Shand, the independent candidate nominated on Tuesday to contest the St Ann North Western seat against incumbent Dr Dayton Campbell of the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Krystal Lee on September 3, has dismissed claims that he is seeking to get back at the PNP for dropping him as its candidate back in 2011.
Shand told The Gleaner on Tuesday night that he was not bitter about the situation and was only exercising his democratic right as he believes that he could do a great job as member of parliament.
The long-standing PNP supporter surprised many persons recently when he recently made known his intention to go for the seat as an independent ticket and challenge Campbell, the incumbent two-term PNP MP.
“Bitterness? There is no bitterness,” he responded when quizzed by The Gleaner.
“When I traverse the whole of North West St Ann, in my opinion, they are not represented well [by Campbell] based on the things that need to be done as a two-term member of parliament. People have asked me from time to time why don’t I go up against him and take his place,” Shand explained.
Recalling the 2011 incident, Shand said that the PNP executive had asked him to represent the party in St Ann North Western after Lucius Thomas pulled out because of ill health.
“Then at the last hour, I was told they had chosen someone different,” he said.
“It’s my choice,” Shand said of his decision to get his name on the ballot this time around. “Nobody can’t tell me what to do. Nobody. You need to understand, PNP and JLP own nobody in this country, and I have a democratic right to do what I want to do, and nobody can stop me, okay?”
He continued: “I’m not running on a PNP ticket or a JLP ticket, and in this country, when you talk about democracy, you have a right to run once you can afford to do so. People talking about splitting votes and all sort of foolishness. My intention is not to split no vote at all.”
Shand admitted to not having a vote in St Ann North Western as his vote is in St Ann North Eastern, where he has several business interests.
His campaign pitch, said Shand, is based on what the incumbent MP was not doing: improving infrastructure such as roads, light, and water.
Under the slogan ‘Balance Di Thing’, he told reporters after being nominated on Tuesday that he was certain of victory.
“One hundred per cent. I have no doubt. History gonna create,” he said, vowing to become the constituency’s first independent MP.