PNP confident it will retain MMC majority
Despite Mandeville Mayor Donovan Mitchell, who is councillor of the Royal Flat Division in the Manchester Municipal Corporation (MMC), indicating that he will not be seeking re-election in the next local government polls, People’s National Party (PNP) leaders in the parish are confident all the current seats held will return to the party’s winning column.
The PNP, which has long held the majority in the MMC, currently has a one-seat majority in the local authority after Johns Hall Division Councillor Faith Sampson crossed the floor in 2020.
The PNP accounts for eight seats, while the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) holds seven.
Mitchell’s division is not the only PNP stronghold set to see fresh blood in the impending polls, which were originally due in November 2020, but have been delayed due to the pandemic.
Three other councillors in the parish have also announced their plans to hang up their boots.
Four-term PNP councillor of the Alligator Pond Division, Darlton Brown, told The Gleaner last year that after assessing his situation and that of his party, he is ready to explore other available options for his professional development. He is set to be succeeded by Omar Robinson, who believes he can retain the seat, which is one of two divisions held by the PNP in Manchester Southern.
Keisha Phillips has been chosen as the standard-bearer to succeed former Deputy Mayor Ervin Facey, councillor of the Spur Tree Division, and Andrew Smith will seek to retain the seat currently held by the retiring McArthur Collins, councillor of the New Green Division, for the PNP.
“Each time (election), you have people who retire for whatever reason. The good thing is that the move was announced early, so the transition is smoother to ensure that we continue to retain the parish council,” said Hopeton McCatty, PNP secretary for the Manchester North Western.
The constituency, for which Mikael Phillips is member of parliament, is the only seat in the parish the PNP managed to retain following a lashing from the JLP in the 2020 general election.
“We are quite confident in our candidates, who have been on the ground and doing very well,” McCatty added
Also expressing confidence in the party’s readiness, Deputy Mandeville Mayor Rohan Kennedy, who is councillor of the Mile Gully Division, said that Mitchell’s departure will not affect plans for electoral success.
“He would have served his parish and the party well and if he decides to quit, we wish him all the best and we’ll move forward. We have the faith that we are going to keep the parish and we are going to keep that seat,” he said.
Early last year, there was an apparent breakdown in the relationship between Mitchell and the councillors in the MMC, which led to him submitting a resignation letter, which he subsequently withdrew.
In the letter, Mitchell indicated that the councillors had seemingly lost confidence in him and his leadership.
Some councillors later denied this claim, saying Mitchell’s resignation was a knee-jerk reaction to their objection to a decision he had made during a committee meeting.