Lisa Hanna really doesn't have a success record in politics

Letters to the Editor

Lisa Hanna really doesn't have a success record in politics

Thursday, October 15, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Lisa Hanna's popularity on social media, her Miss World title, and beauty have all featured in her quest to become the president of the People's National Party (PNP). For many people these features have endeared her to them. However, when you look past that to the political realities associated with her one has to wonder whether her popularity and beauty are winning qualities in a political sphere.

This is not to say Hanna has nothing else to offer, but in the narrative of her most ardent supporters, her beauty, Miss Word title, and her social media presence seem to be the main reasons they believe she is best poised to lead the PNP to victory in the next general elections against Andrew Holness.

Hanna has been the Member of Parliament (MP) in the PNP's rural heartland of St Ann South Eastern. This is a seat that, since its inception, has only elected PNP MPs — in 1983 the PNP did not contest.

In her first election Hanna received 41 per cent support of those on the voters' list. The PNP lost the Government in this election. In 2011, when the PNP returned to Government in a landslide, Hanna received 33 per cent support of those eligible to vote. By 2016 the PNP again lost, marginally, but Hanna, having served as a Government minister for four years, only received 27 per cent, and in the wipeout of 2020 only managed 17 per cent support of her constituents.

It is pertinent that Hanna or her surrogates explain the factors that have led to a 23 per cent decline in support in her constituency, despite her success on social media and all the other qualities they have highlighted.

Further, she has to answer how these trends will be reversed in her constituency and others if she were to become leader.

It is important to also mention here that, in 2016, the PNP lost the Moneague Division for the first time and marginally won Claremont, when two of Hanna's loyalists ran as Independents.

Politics is not rigid or static, it is ever changing. The factors that shaped the 2020 election may not be the same ones which shape future elections. Seeking to elect a PNP president to mirror the 2020 Andrew Holness is trying to win an election already lost.

This is a knee-jerk reaction rather than rational political thinking. Holness will not remain static until the next election, he will morph into something different as he as done in his last three outings.

I implore the PNP to look beyond finding its own Andrew Holness. In fact, the more the PNP distinguishes itself from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) the better it will be for it, because while imitation is the best form of flattery, originals are usually better than the copy.

The PNP must look on the statistics available to it, look on the political landscape, to see where the gaps and opportunities are, and then select a leader who will be best able to distinguish the PNP and create a credible alternative for the Jamaican people.

Lawrence Rowe

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