MONTEGO BAY, St James — The man who was being groomed by the Opposition to face Marisa Dalrymple Philibert in Trelawny Southern, next general election, wants to go into battle now.
Bring on a by-election is what businessman Fabion Davis is chanting, as he hopes to capitalise on the misfortune of the then incumbent who quit as MP for the constituency, as well as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Thursday.
Dalrymple Philibert resigned from the posts amid mounting pressure in relation to the eight charges laid against her by the Integrity Commission last week.
Davis was given the nod to represent the party in the next general election during a selection exercise at the PNP's Trelawny Southern conference at Albert Town High School in the parish last month.
He told the Jamaica Observer that he has been doing the legwork.
"I have been in the constituency. I have been doing my walks and I have been doing the work while putting the machinery together for an election. Whether it is a by-election or a general election, I am on my way," said Davis.
For Davis, the vision for Trelawny Southern is simply to focus on improving the lives of those residing in the mainly rural constituency. He told the Sunday Observer that the implementation of a proper system of supplying running water in the area would be an ideal start.
"My vision for South Trelawny is to get back running water in the pipes in order for the farmers to engage in the cash crop programmes that they have at RADA," said Davis.
The MP candidate stated that the farmers living in the rural constituency have been dealt a "bad hand" as without running water, they have been suffering huge losses. At the same time, the businessman said that he intends to assist farmers in Trelawny Southern improve their entrepreneurial skills.
"This is a farming area and they mostly farm yam, which is a one year thing. After that, farmers dead fi hungry, you know? Those farmers are really skilled to be alive now in south Trelawny, so I really want to help them get water so that they can be involved in cash crops and get money right throughout the year. I need to turn these farmers into entrepreneurs," Davis said.
In addition to that, the MP candidate said that improvement of Ulster Spring Health Centre will be a major project undertaken were he to become the elected representative. Roads, too, are on Davis's list of things to tackle in the rural constituency.
"I am looking to upgrade the health centre in Ulster Spring. They have fixed the main roads, but they are now going back to a deplorable condition — that would be one of my main focuses too," he said.
"There are some other roads that would help [motorists] to detour in case there is a major accident on the main. Right now, if you have a major accident there is nowhere to go, so those roads will be addressed," Davis added.
The businessman, who is also listed by the PNP as councillor candidate for the Duncans Division (Trelawny Northern) in the Trelawny Municipal Corporation, told the Sunday Observer that he is fully committed to stepping up to the plate in Trelawny. According to him, he is a son of the soil who has always been passionate about his parish.
He said that he became a member of the PNP in 2017 and has since worked alongside the party to build confidence in the people of Trelawny.
"I am presently the chairman for the Duncans Division, and also the candidate for the local government election there as well. I started my political journey in North Trelawny and I have been working assiduously with my team there. I have learned a lot in North Trelawny politics, so it has prepared me to do the job as a Member of Parliament," said Davis, who was born in Clark's Town in the north, and attended Holmwood Technical High School in Manchester.
"I have always been in love with South Trelawny and I had a business there in 2005. I am also involved in music and I used to go there to play music, so I know a lot of people there — I am not a stranger. Being in love with this constituency and strongly believing in farming, I realised that this is where we need to go now based on what is happening. I really want to help these people as farmers, help to grow the constituency, and do things that will attract young people," the MP candidate added.
Davis, in a follow-up statement on Saturday, hailed the work of the former MP, but maintained that a change was necessary.
"I'd like to express thanks to Marisa Dalrymple Philibert for her service to the people of South Trelawny. Public service is no small task, and her contribution must be recognised.
"However, it is with a heavy heart that I acknowledge the circumstances surrounding her resignation as Speaker of the House and as the Member of Parliament for South Trelawny. We had hoped that she would have demitted office guided by her own conscience, but it became evident that public pressure, starting with the PNP's walkout from Parliament in protest of her conduct, forced her hand.
"The situation is deeply regrettable, and it brings great disappointment to South Trelawny to have one of its Members of Parliament forced out of office under these circumstances. As representatives of the people, we must uphold the highest ethical standards, and any departure from these standards is a disservice to our constituents and our nation.
"The People's National Party remains steadfast in our commitment to the people of South Trelawny. We have been working diligently to ensure that the constituency would receive the best possible representation in due course, and Marisa's premature departure from office only accelerates our timetable to provide South Trelawny with the strong and ethical representation it deserves," the statement ended.
Davis, along with other candidates who were recently selected to represent the party, will be ratified at the National Executive Council (NEC) today, incidentally at Albert Town High School, Trelawny Southern, PNP General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell told the Sunday Observer.
Asked about the party's readiness for a by-election, Campbell stated that it was preparing for a general election.
There was no word from the JLP regarding who its candidate would be in the event of a by-election or general election.