Campbell claims PNP president was pressured by ‘outsiders’ to end his bid to represent constituency
ST CATHERINE, Jamaica – Deputy Mayor of Portmore and Councillor for the Edgewater Division, Alric Campbell, has expressed disappointment that Mark Golding, president of the People’s National Party (PNP) and the opposition leader, has bowed to what he says is ‘peripheral influences’ in order to end his bid to become the party’s standard- bearer in the St Catherine South Eastern constituency.
“Based on his demeanour when he (Golding) was telling me of his decision, I think that he was influenced. He did not make the decision on his own volition,” Campbell told OBSERVER ONLINE.
Golding disclosed at a meeting at the PNP’s Old Hope Road headquarters on Wednesday, that medical doctor Alfred Dawes would be the party’s standard-bearer in the constituency, instead of Campbell.
“When I went to the meeting, I was told that the decision was to go with Comrade Dr Alfred Dawes. Of course, having been in the field, and having been preparing myself for an overwhelming victory at stage 5, you would understand that I am very disappointed,” Campbell said.
Campbell added that his disappointment was further compounded by the fact that he and Golding have ‘mutual respect and a personal relationship’ before Golding became party leader.
“At any time during the process before that stage, had the party leader called me to indicate that, ‘look, I want him (Dr Dawes) to be in the division and I want you to work with it, I would have worked with it’,” he said.
Golding had declared at a recent National Executive Council (NEC) meeting that he “had no horse in any race in the internal selection process” and had urged all “candidates who feel that they have what it takes and a commonality of interests with the PNP’s aims and objectives are free to run”.
“Anyone out there who is holding out that they have my blessing or endorsement is engaging in mischief because none has, I am in favour of them all, as long as they play by the rules,” Golding said at the time.
After 15 years at the rank of councillor, Campbell, believed that he was on the cusp of victory as he had attracted more support than Dr Dawes in an internal poll.
On the question of who was more favourable with constituents between the two aspirants, Campbell attracted the support of 21 per cent of those polled, while Dr Dawes got 16 per cent.
“At the application stage, three persons applied, by the time it got to the interview stage, only two persons applied, so even at that stage, I would have withdrawn my candidacy had the party leader called me in,” he said.
The PNP has dominated the St Catherine South Eastern constituency for three decades since the victory of then Queen’s Counsel Carl Rattray’s in the 1989 general election. However, Robert ‘Big Rob’ Miller ended their streak of eight consecutive general election wins by beating Colin Fagan and taking the Jamaica Labur Party home in 2020.
The selection process involving the aspirants in St Ann South Eastern will now move on to the selection conference involving delegates. Former cricketer, turned politician, Wavell Hinds, is the clear favourite to succeed Lisa Hanna in the constituency, according to a Don Anderson poll.
Hinds is going up against Kenneth Russell and Patricia Duncan Sutherland to gain the nod in the constituency. Internal PNP polls also showed that Hinds enjoyed 41 per cent support as it relates to voter intention, while Sutherland and Russell registered 29 and 25 per cent respectively.
– Claude Mills