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PNP banking on Banks for St Andrew NW

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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Businessman Rohan Banks seems set to be the People's National Party's (PNP) standard-bearer in the St Andrew North Western constituency in the next general election.

Banks, who had initially set his sights on representing the party in St Andrew West Rural, moved his attention to the seat held by the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Dr Nigel Clarke after it became clear that the PNP would select Krystal Tomlinson as its representative in that constituency.

Yesterday Banks told the Jamaica Observer that he had no issue with the selection of Tomlinson for the St Andrew West Rural seat as it is obvious that the PNP is being very strategic in selecting its representatives in each constituency.

According to Banks, with Tomlinson in West Rural and him in North Western the PNP stands a good chance of taking the two seats from the JLP.

“The party is looking for the right person to put in particular seats and they saw me as the right fit for St Andrew North West,” said Banks, who will be seeking to defeat Clarke, who polled 4,457 votes (61 per cent) to overcome a challenge from the PNP's Keisha Hayle, who picked up 2,809 votes (38 per cent) in a by-election in March 2018.

Approximately 24 per cent (7,337) of the 30,216 electors on the voters' list for the constituency cast their ballots in that by-election.

While accepting that St Andrew North Western has been counted among the JLP's safe seats since it was first won by Carl Samuda in 1980 and retained for the party by Derrick Smith in a run which stretched from 1989 until he retired last year, Banks argued that this is the opportune time for the PNP to take back the seat which it last won in 1976.

“The truth of the matter is, that seat is no longer a safe seat for the JLP. That seat was a safe seat for Derrick Smith, but now that Nigel Clarke is in the seat, the circumstances are much different,” said Banks.

“I am very popular in St Andrew North West and I see it as a very winnable seat. I don't think it will be a very difficult task to defeat Nigel Clarke. I am very popular with residents of Hughenden, Havendale, Maverly and other communities in the constituency.

“Comrades are confident that this is no safe seat for the JLP and we are determined to win it,” added Banks.

He argued that the performance of the JLP in Government over the past four years and its failure to deliver on many of its promises leading up to the 2016 General Elections will help him to end Clarke's career as the country's minister of finance.

“When you listen to the speech of the JLP on the platform it is condescending and arrogant. The electorate will show that this is unacceptable. Both young and old Jamaicans are looking to [PNP President] Dr Peter Phillips for national safety and economic stability and that is the reality,” argued Banks as he dismissed the suggestion that he is being a sacrificial lamb in a JLP safe seat.

“I always approach things with confidence and I have good reasons to be confident as I enter this race,” declared Banks.

So far there has been no confirmation from the PNP Secretariat that it has settled on a candidate for St Andrew North West, but chairman of the party's organisation in the constituency Carl Marshall told the Observer that Banks was introduced to the executive on Sunday and is almost certain to contest the seat.


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