Wed | Sep 28, 2022

Hanna’s departure is not PNP’s problem

Published:Friday | August 19, 2022 | 12:07 AM


Recently when Ms Lisa Hanna announced her intention to retire from representational politics, many persons began their assessment of its impact on the People’s National Party (PNP) and deduced evident doom for the immediate viability of the party.

Ms Hanna, in my estimation, remains a credible candidate for political representation and even more so, a worthy choice as part of the governmental executive. Should the People’s National Party miraculously become attractive to a majority of the electorate when the next general election is held, one would hope to see Ms Hanna in the Upper House of Parliament.

That aside, however, the argument that Ms Hanna’s retirement will hurt the party appears to be a case of wishful thinking or uninformed commentary directing the narrative. For, in the three elections contested by Ms Hanna in South Eastern St Ann, she has not influenced the electoral results in any significant proportion or at all. And that does not indicate that she was a poor candidate.

The facts are, after the 73 per cent electoral victory by Mr Seymour Mullings in the 1989 election, Ms Hanna won the seat by 65 per cent in the 2011 election and 61 per cent in 2007. Ms Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, prior to Ms Hanna, won the seat with 63 per cent in the 2002 election. In the 2020 the election, Ms Hanna’s 49 per cent victory was the subject of a magisterial recount.

Ms Hanna has not distinguished herself as a political powerhouse in three general election outings and it could be easily interpreted that she has benefited from the party’s strong sympathy in the constituency. Once the PNP was performing poorly, Ms Hanna’s performance was commensurately poor. And further, as minister of youth, Ms Hanna did not appear to attract and consolidate the youth votes for the PNP. On what basis then is it being predicated that her retirement from politics will significantly hurt the party’s electoral attractiveness? It appears to only make sense to those who wish it to be or those misreading reality.

The PNP has a bigger problem than the retirement of Ms Lisa Hanna, the organisation must articulate a convincing platform of policies to address the country’s ills and not just highlighting the Government’s failures or speaking in broad terms instead of offering policy specificities. If we did not know better, we could not be faulted, were we to conclude that the PNP has not formed government in over three decades. Ms Hanna’s retirement is not the PNP’s problem, it is absence of policy relevance to the 60 per cent of us who are turned off from the circus.