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Waite-and-see for St Bess seat - Basil eyes extension of political dynasty

Published:Tuesday | June 15, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Waite … said to be number-one contender for the vacant position.

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Member of Parliament Basil Waite. It has a nice ring to it. At least that's what the senator whose sights are set on Kern Spencer's seat seems to think.

Waite has been tipped to succeed the battle-weary Spencer - who succeeded Waite as president of the People's National Party Youth Organisation (PNPYO) - as candidate for the North East St Elizabeth constituency.

Last week, The Gleaner reported that the party leadership had ruled Spencer out as the candidate.

Spencer, at the weekend, served notice that he would be making way for a successor.

This has paved the way for political aspirants to make moves on North East St Elizabeth, which has traditionally been dominated by the PNP.

Wants to replace schoolmate

Well-placed sources say Waite is the number-one contender for the vacant position, replacing his former Munro College and University of the West Indies schoolmate.

But a run-off is in the offing, as two other persons have signalled an interest.

They are Dr Lynden Rose and Wensworth Skeffery.

The PNP secretariat has declined to confirm whether the three persons will be vying to contest the seat on the party ticket.

Waite has declined to comment on his chances, saying protocol must be observed.

"I have submitted an application to the party expressing my interest in being the candidate for the constituency," Waite told The Gleaner yesterday.

He was quick to point out that the constitution of the PNP requires that a selection process be set in train.

"I await the instruction of the party," Waite said. "In the meantime, I will continue to interact with Comrades and other stakeholders in the constituency."

He added: "This is not just about a constituency but about building on a proud legacy of past standard-bearers that provided quality representation and transformative development for the constituency of North East St Elizabeth."

Waite, who is from a political family, grew up in neighbouring North West St Elizabeth.

His grandfather, Leonard Waite, ran in the local government election in 1947, while his father, Basil Waite Sr, ran three decades later - in 1977.

- gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com