Lisa Hanna walking away from representational politics, tells PNP it needs to embrace change
HANNA... for any organisation to survive and be relevant to successive global environments and markets, it must be responsive and change with the times

News on Tuesday that Lisa Hanna has decided to end her 15-year involvement in representational politics left many Jamaicans wide-eyed and O-mouthed and sparked speculation that the St Ann South Eastern Member of Parliament has basically had enough of the personal attacks to which she has been subjected from within the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) for some time.

In fact, Hanna, in her letter to PNP President Mark Golding stating her intention to not offer herself as a candidate for the party at the next general election, told the PNP that it needed to embrace change, empower young people and attract the right talent in order to survive.

"The PNP has always believed in equal opportunity for all regardless of station in life. This fundamental philosophy has driven our actions to propel solutions for national prosperity through building the economic base of Jamaica from the bottom up," Hanna stated in her letter, which was made public by Golding.

"We have always been the party with a heart, the people's party that is in touch with the grass roots and committed to ensuring no Jamaican is left behind. However, for any organisation to survive and be relevant to successive global environments and markets, it must be responsive and change with the times, seeking modern approaches to getting things done. This does not mean changing our core principles, mission, or value proposition but rather, embracing modern communication, applying our principles to 21st-century challenges, empowering the next generation, and, most importantly, attracting and retaining the right talents to get the job done," she said in an apparent admonition of Golding's presidency.

Hanna said she had no doubt that "once the PNP can recalibrate its approaches to reignite and reinforce these core tenets within the minds and hearts of Jamaicans to inspire their imagination and aspire towards a better future", the party will form the next Government.

"I have always been a champion of change and having the courage to do what's right even when it's not expedient or self-serving, as I believe courage has an obligation to pave new roads for the generation coming behind us. As such, I have recently decided to conclude my current journey in representational politics at the end of this term," added Hanna, the PNP's spokeswoman on foreign affairs and foreign trade.

"Therefore, I will not be offering myself as the party's candidate in the next general election when it is called, a decision I have communicated to my constituency executive. I trust this early notice will give constituency delegates adequate time to go through a selection process to select a candidate of their choice, which is their constitutional right. I remain available to serve at your consideration in the shadow cabinet as spokesperson on foreign affairs and foreign trade," she added.

Hanna, who in November 2020 lost the party's presidential election to Golding by 296 votes, traced her history in the PNP, which started in 2007 when she was parachuted into St Ann South Eastern by then party president Portia Simpson Miller to contest the general election that year.

That development, she said, changed her life "immensely" as it allowed her to serve Jamaica in another capacity.

"Over the last 15 years, I have found this experience quite satisfying; it allowed me the privilege to serve as an elected Member of Parliament, Cabinet minister, on the national scene, and at the party level as regional chairman and treasurer. This opportunity will always be a part of me as it reshaped the foundations of my thinking and will forever guide my perspective," she said.

After winning the St Ann South Eastern seat in the 2007 election Hanna enjoyed popular support in the constituency, retaining it at each parliamentary poll. However, over time her relationship with some Comrades in and outside the constituency turned frosty and, in the September 2020 General Election she scraped home by a mere 32 votes.

In her letter to Golding, Hanna said her tenure in representational politics "has not always been easy" and the political baptisms of fire to which she was subjected "were often unrelenting and excruciating".

"I have many times stood alone on principle, which was perceived as unreasonable and misunderstood. But on the whole, the collective experience has bolstered my character, sharpened my fighting skills, and prepared me well for the next chapter of my life's journey," Hanna said.

She told Golding that she "will always remain grateful to the PNP", and wished for him the very best as he leads the party "towards victory at the polls and the formation of the next Government".

Late Tuesday night, the PNP issued a statement thanking Hanna for her years of service to the party and the people of St Ann South Eastern.

The party said Golding expressed appreciation to Hanna for her willingness to continue serving as the spokeswoman on foreign affairs and foreign trade, and for her continued commitment to the party and Jamaica.

"Comrade Hanna's commitment to Jamaica remains an inspiration to our youth and those looking to enter representational politics. I look forward to continue working with Comrade Hanna on areas in which she is passionate and has achieved significant results," the statement quoted Golding.

The party said it will work closely with the St Ann South Eastern constituency executive to arrange a suitable occasion to honour Hanna "and show our appreciation for the tremendous work she has done".

"Representational politics is a labour of love and Comrade Hanna has certainly given her best in service to her country. The entire Jamaica should join us in thanking her for her service and wishing her the very best as she charts her way forward," the PNP said.

Lisa Hanna's political fact file

September 3, 2007 – Won the St Ann South Eastern seat.

September 2007 – December 2011 – Opposition spokeswoman on information, youth and culture.

December 2011 – Wins second term in St Ann South Eastern

January 2012 – February 2016 – Minister of Youth & Culture

February 2016 – Wins third term as Member of Parliament for St Ann South Eastern

March 2016 – present – PNP spokeswoman on foreign affairs and foreign trade

September 2016 – Loses bid to become a PNP vice-president

September 2020 – Wins fourth term as MP for St Ann South Eastern

November 2020 – Loses bid for PNP presidency to Mark Golding

August 2022 – Announces intention to leave representational politics

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