Independent Crooks sympathetic to PNP
Adrian Frater, News Editor
The saying, fact is stranger than fiction, could gain meaning in the upcoming local government elections as, despite not fielding a candidate in the Riverside division in Western Hanover, the ruling People's National Party (PNP) could still end up in control of the seat.
While the PNP has not nominated a candidate in the division, former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) mayor of Lucea Lester Crooks, who reportedly failed in a last ditch bid to represent the PNP, was nominated as an Independent candidate but reportedly has the backing of PNP supporters.
"We have solid inside information that if he (Crooks) wins, he will be crossing the floor to the PNP at the first sitting of the parish council," a well-placed PNP source told The Gleaner. "The people in his campaign are all PNP supporters so you could call him a Comrade-in-waiting."
Tried to run for PNP
Chairman of the PNP's Region Six, Dr D.K. Duncan, confirmed that Crooks had tried to get on the PNP's ticket and in making his prediction as to what the PNP would do in Western Hanover, jokingly hinted that Crooks was sympathetic to the PNP.
"I think we are going to win three and three quarters of the four seats in the constituency," Duncan quipped. "You can put your own spin on that.
"He (Crooks) tried to get on the PNP's ticket but the procedure was not completed on time to facilitate it," said Duncan. "I know he is very sympathetic to the PNP and has been working quite closely with Ian Hayles (the Western Hanover member of parliament) in recent times."
Efforts to reach Crooks, who was once quite a popular JLP figure in western Jamaica, were unsuccessful as his cellular phone rang without an answer.
Crooks resigned as mayor of Lucea in 2007 in the wake of a scandal involving the Hanover Parish Council giving discounted building fees to the developers of the Fiesta Hotel at Point Estate in Lucea.
In addition to Crooks, seven other candidates were nominated in Western Hanover yesterday. Six candidates, including embattled Lucea Mayor Lloyd Hill, were nominated in Eastern Hanover.
Hill was under pressure to remain as the PNP's candidate for the Sandy Bay division as Duncan, the member of parliament for Eastern Hanover, was reportedly not supportive of his candidacy.
However, following a demonstration by Hill's supporters, who stormed a meeting being chaired by Duncan, he was given the go ahead by the party's hierarchy.