Thomas cops PNP ticket for NW St Ann
Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
Former Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas signalled his entrance to representational politics on Sunday with a pledge to unite People's National Party (PNP) supporters in North West St Ann and win back a seat which party Chairman Robert Pickersgill described as "PNP territory".
Thomas scored a landslide victory over his sole opponent, councillor for the Brown's Town division and mayor of St Ann's Bay, Ivan Anderson, by 312 to 58 votes, in a run-off to choose a representative for the next general election. A total of 370 delegates of a possible 441 voted in the election, which was held at the Brown's Town Community College in St Ann.
"I have a vision for the constituency. My vision is first to reunite this constituency," Thomas told The Gleaner.
"It has been, over the years, People's National Party domain. ... We want to bring back the love that has been around and must be around to take back this constituency."
Anderson was gracious in defeat and was given rapturous applause when he pledged unity with, and support for, Thomas. But he riled a section of the audience when he said some party supporters needed to be "flushed out" because of apparent opposition to his contesting the position.
Some persons were opposed to an election and wanted Thomas installed unopposed, The Gleaner understands.
Thomas said his victory was a culmination of seven months of canvassing that involved house-to-house meetings with delegates.
"I had discussions on issues, mainly road, water, unemployment, basic issues that everybody now talks about."
Thomas' victory was predicted from the outset, and the lopsided support for the respective camps on the school compound was noticeable, with the former top cop commanding far more backers.
Thomas, a son of St Ann, served the Jamaica Constabulary Force for 40 years, the last two as commissioner of police, before resigning in 2007. He takes up the slack left vacant by Dr Michael Whittingham, who contested the seat in the 2007 general election, losing to the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Othneil Lawrence.
The former police chief raised some eyebrows last year when he signalled his intentions to enter politics in a constituency that, after 51 years, has seen eight PNP victories to the JLP's three.
Chairman Pickersgill headed a short list of PNP officials who were present, including Julian Robinson and Lisa Hanna, chairman for PNP Region One and MP for South East St Ann. Former Tourism Minister Aloun Assamba was also present.