Tue | Mar 21, 2023

Candidates rush to represent PNP in next general elections, says gen sec

Published:Sunday | March 12, 2023 | 1:21 AMErica Virtue - Senior Gleaner Writer
Dr Morais Guy indicated he will not be seeking re-election
Dr Morais Guy indicated he will not be seeking re-election
Dr Alfred Dawes is seeking to contest the St Catherine South Eastern constituency.
Dr Alfred Dawes is seeking to contest the St Catherine South Eastern constituency.
Wavell Hinds is looking to replace Lisa Hanna in St Ann South East.
Wavell Hinds is looking to replace Lisa Hanna in St Ann South East.
Patricia Duncan Sutherland is looking to replace Lisa Hanna in St Ann South East.
Patricia Duncan Sutherland is looking to replace Lisa Hanna in St Ann South East.
Zuleika Jess has switched to St Elizabeth North Eastern
Zuleika Jess has switched to St Elizabeth North Eastern
General Secretary of the PNP, Dr Dayton Campbell
General Secretary of the PNP, Dr Dayton Campbell

Results from its recently commissioned political poll are not quite favourable and its ratings among voters have been waning since Portia Simpson Miller stepped down as leader, but that has not dissuaded a flurry of applicants to the People’s National Party’s (PNP) call for candidates.

General Secretary of the PNP, Dr Dayton Campbell, said at the last meeting of its National Executive Council (NEC) – its second highest decision-making body – a call was issued for comrades to apply to be possible candidates to run in the next general elections due in 2025.

With only a two-week window given, more than 40 applications were received, including several newcomers, and many constituencies had multiple applicants, including one with four.

At the same time, one of the party’s most seasoned veterans has signalled that this was his final term.

“Of the current MPs (members of parliament), we are sure of two who will not be seeking re-election. That is Dr Peter Phillips (St Andrew East Central) and Lisa Hanna (St Ann South East). We have indication from one other that he will not be seeking re-election,” Campbell told The Sunday Gleaner last week.

“Of the remaining 52 constituencies, we had applications for representation in 45, with the majority having more than one application. Subsequently, we have had applications of interest in four of the remaining seven. Only three remain open, and that includes Kingston Western.”

The selection process is currently under way, he said, after applicants were interviewed by the regional executive panel. Following that, the party’s internal integrity commission will conduct background investigations. That commission began meeting with applicants on Friday.

“It will meet for roughly a month. We have increased the membership of the commission to 11 so that two bodies can be empanelled at any one time,” Campbell said, noting that findings will be sent to party president Mark Golding.

According to him, the applicants represent an almost 50-50 male/female balance, many women influenced by Simpson Miller’s ascendance to the position of the first female leader of the 84-year-old political party.

“Candidate selection is also based on poll results and soundings, to ensure that the candidate that is selected can win not only the selection, but win against the opponent. The viability against the opponent is primary,” Campbell explained.


The PNP has confirmed that among the newcomers applying is popular medical doctor Dr Alfred Dawes. It was long rumoured that he would enter representational politics, but only recently officially applied to contest the St Catherine South Eastern constituency.

That constituency is represented by first-timer Robert Miller of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), who beat the PNP’s Colin Fagan for the seat in the 2020 general elections.

The Sunday Gleaner was unable to contact Dr Dawes last week.

Several losing candidates are also among those reapplying for representation and two are vying to represent one of the more high-profiled constituencies represented by the PNP. Patricia Duncan Sutherland and Wavell Hinds are two losing candidates who have applied to replace Lisa Hanna in St Ann South East.

Another applicant is Dr Kenneth Russell.

Last week, Duncan Sutherland confirmed her switch to the constituency, in the parish of her father, the late Dr D.K. Duncan.

“So far it has really been positive on the ground. The reception has been really good and I feel confident that I will be selected. Clarendon is the parish of my mother’s birth and St Ann is the where my father was born. Part of the way I made my decision on where to go, is where my roots are,” said Duncan Sutherland, who represented Clarendon South Eastern but was beaten by the JLP’s Pearnel Charles Jr in the last general elections.

Hanna narrowly retained the St Ann South East seat, by 31 votes, after a magisterial recount.

Duncan Sutherland said part of her strategy is rebuilding the constituency, which saw many public and ugly disagreements between Hanna and her councillors. At least one, Lydia Richards of the Bensonton division, was the face of the public revolt against Hanna and in 2015 challenged her to be the candidate in the 2016 general elections.

“There are about 50 clusters, and it is about a continuous series of meetings and walks in the constituency to re-energise the comrades and communities in general. So I envision myself holding a series of vision sessions, as each community is different. So they create their visions and then we all come together to see how we can compromise,” she shared.


For Hinds, the retired former West Indies opening batsman, he was encouraged by friends and relatives to seek representation after losing in Hanover Eastern in the 2020 elections.

“In consultations with Hanover Eastern after the general elections, their feeling was that they wanted someone from Hanover because the last time they voted for someone from outside they did not get a return on their investment. Having heard that, I thought it was unwise to remain there,” he told The Sunday Gleaner on why he opted to make the switch.

Hinds said he appreciated the honesty of the comrades.

“I was called by my relatives in the constituency to say there is a vacancy. I was traversing St Ann South East from I was two years old, given that my grandparents, aunts and uncles are from there in Hinds Town and Walker’s Wood. The reception so far has been very good and I have been receiving support. If I meet 10 persons, I have the support of seven,” Hinds said last week, adding that two of the remaining are taking a wait-and-see approach, while the other is supporting someone else.

He said he recognised that the constituency needs to heal, and has met with the local government representatives to hear their vision and share his.

He believes his more than two decades of negotiations and experience as a West Indies Players Association representative will come in handy.

Attorney-at-law Zuleika Jess has ended her dream of unseating the 86-year-old Lester Mike Henry in the Clarendon Central bastion, switching to St Elizabeth North Eastern. It is represented by the JLP’s Delroy Slowley.

In South Manchester, former Senator Wentworth Skeffery has applied to be the representative.

Even as new applications have been received, a seasoned and experienced veteran of the party is bowing out.

Dr Morais Guy confirmed to The Sunday Gleaner last week that he is in his final term as member of parliament for the St Mary Central constituency. Guy, a medical doctor, was first elected in 2002 and has held several executive positions in the PNP.

“I can confirm that I am will not be seeking re-election,” he said on Thursday.

Guy has served as minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Housing and on the Joint Select Committee which examined the Ganja Commission Report. Dr Guy is one of the most thorough and experienced members of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) of Parliament, as well as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He shadowed the foreign affairs portfolio from 2007-2009, as well as housing.

He is currently the spokesman on health and serves on the Ethics, Human Resources and Social Development and Standing Orders committee of Parliament.