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Donovan vs. Derrick - PNP picks school principal to tackle six-term MP

Published:Thursday | November 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding
Issacs ... It wasn't a good time then, but I think that it is the right time now

Confidence oozed from every pore of veteran educator Donovan Roland Isaacs as he sat with our news team.

He has been selected by the People's National Party (PNP) for the gigantic task of challenging the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Derrick Smith in St Andrew North West in the next general election, and Isaacs believes he has what it takes to do what no other has done in the past 26 years, get more votes than Smith.

But Smith, the veteran politician who has never lost in a general election, is not yet ready to enter into any exchange with the latest contender to his throne.


"I have nothing to respond to, as an election is not called," Smith told The Gleaner.

However Isaacs, the principal of the St Andrew College, in the Corporate Area has much to say.

The educator, who has been in the classroom for more than 40 years, is quick to assert that his confidence is not misplaced and argues that he has a realistic chance of unseating Smith, the six-time MP.

"Yes man, great, great, great chance. It wasn't a good time then, but I think that it is the right time now," said Isaacs as he responded to the fact that Smith has destroyed all the challengers the PNP has placed before him so far.

fed up with smith

According to Isaacs, the voters in St Andrew North East are ready to say goodbye to Smith as they are now fed up because their political representative has not treated them properly.

"Frustration, like everybody else, when you are at a thing for so many years, you lose the zeal and drive. They are totally frustrated.

"Any community you go to in North West, they will tell you that they are frustrated and they can't be bothered because it doesn't make any sense and this is why voter turnout at the upper level is so bad," charged Isaacs.

The 60 year-old told The Gleaner that he was approached by constituents to challenge Smith as they have been impressed by the work he has done as a justice of the peace, particularly in Meadowbrook. "They told me, 'Go and represent us'."

He charged that St Andrew North West has been neglected for a long time and the people are clamouring for a change.

"Roads bad and so on and people asked me what I could do about it. Maybe because I am a justice of the peace, I have some clout and could do something to get the roads repaired," said Isaacs.

roads repaired

The St Andrew North West resident of 10 years, said he contacted the National Works Agency and the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation and had some success in getting roads repaired.

Isaacs said that the PNP resonated with him because of the value that it places on education. He stressed that he has long been convinced that the party has the best plans for education.

He said it was during the tenure of the first PNP president, Norman Manley, that the Common Entrance Examination got started and he benefited from tertiary education under the leadership of then Prime Minister Michael Manley.

"You talk about free education, you talk about extending the education time from 15 years to 17 years to upgrade secondary education," said Isaacs. "As an educator, I could go to no other party."