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Father and son score victories

Published:Friday | December 30, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Peter Phillips
Mikael Phillips
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FOR THE second time in Jamaica's recent political history, a father and son team has been elected to serve together in the House of Representatives.

Mikael Phillips, 39, was yesterday elected by the voters in North West Manchester and will join his 62-year-old father, Dr Peter Phillips, who has served in the House continuously since 1994.

Mikael polled 8,462 votes to the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Timothy Scarlett's 6,308 votes.

Norman Manley and Michael Manley were the other father and son team to serve in Jamaica's Parliament.

In 1967, Michael Manley polled 4,367 votes to E.K. Powell's 4,324 to win Central Kingston for the PNP.

That year, he joined his father Norman in the House after they both scored victories.

Norman Manley comfortably won the East Central St Andrew constituency in that election over the JLP's Stafford Owen.

The Mikael and Peter Phillips story is not as unblemished as that of the Manley's.

While Michael won the first time he faced the voters, Mikael was rejected in his first outing.

In 2007, the younger Phillips offered himself as the PNP's candidate for East Rural St Andrew, but the majority of the voters were not keen on him.

When they went to the polls, the young Phillips lost by 270 votes to the JLP's Joseph Hibbert.

Following his defeat, Phillips uprooted himself from East Rural St Andrew and headed for North West Manchester where Dean Peart had indicated he would not seek re-election.

Phillips cautioned his son

The elder Phillips said he had cautioned his son about his entry into representational politics.

"Truth be told, I urged him to think long and hard before getting involved in this process ... . While service is very good in many ways, it is a thankless task," he said during an interview with The Gleaner in 2007.

"In many ways, you open yourself up to many negative experiences. You have to be very clear in your mind why you want to engage in it. Otherwise, it can be very painful, even though very rewarding."

Meanwhile, Mikael argued that he has a role to play in the advancement of Jamaica through the political process.

While defeat in 2007 is fresh in his mind, the younger Phillips says the prospect of now going to Parliament to serve as a legislator "is a humbling feeling".

"Having lost in 2007 and getting there now, it is truly humbling," the younger Phillips said.

He said having spoken to his father on Wednesday, he was told that winning "is one birthday wish that he wants".

Mikael said his victory was a result of two and a half years' hard work in the constituency.

"The last time around I had six months, we got very close to it until I got sick two weeks before the election," he recalled.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com