Hanna pleads for unity... says contest was humbling experience
Battered and bruised in a fierce internal contest to represent the People's National Party (PNP) in South East St Ann, a victorious two-time Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna yesterday appealed for unity and pledged to reach out and mend fences in the interest of the development of the constituency.
Hanna, the youth and culture minister, easily defeated challenger Lydia Richards, getting 468 votes to Richards' 10. Six ballots were spoilt.
Some 1,056 eligible delegates were on the voters' list for the polls, which took place at the Ferncourt High school in St Ann. Of that number, 484 people voted. Richards had protested the purity of the voters' list.
"This is a time when we as a constituency should bond together in unity for a greater cause," Hanna said after the results were announced.
"I am not one who believes in divide and rule, so today I am saying to everyone, it is time to come together. We are moving forward for a greater South East St Ann. We are stronger and more resilient," she said.
Three PNP councillors - Lydia Richards of the Bensonton division, Lloyd Garrick of the Moneague division, and Lambert Weir of Claremont - supported by Vinnette Robb-Oddman of the Calderwood division in South West St Ann, have been campaigning over time to secure the dismissal of Hanna as the constituency representative. They had stated that they had no confidence in her leadership.
influence eventual candidate
Yesterday, Paul Burke, the general Secretary of the PNP, said that with South East St Ann being a recognised constituency under the party's constitution, the results of the delegates would weigh heavily in determining who eventually represents the constituency in the next general election.
Hanna's name will now be submitted to the party's executive for ratification as the candidate.
"I am very, very grateful. It has been a very humbling and sobering experience, but at the same time a great experience that has built my self-confidence. It has reconfirmed and bolstered my love for my people," Hanna said yesterday.
Attempts to reach Richards proved futile.