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I am ready, says PNP's Keisha Hayle

Staff reporter

Sunday, February 11, 2018

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PEOPLE'S National Party (PNP) candidate for the St Andrew North Western constituency, Keisha Hayle, is insisting that on the night of March 5, she will emerge as Member of Parliament-elect when the by-election proceedings end.

Hayle, one of the few persons to show interest in the traditionally Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) seat for the Opposition, told a small crowd of party supporters at Marverely Primary School in St Andrew, Thursday night, that she isn't throwing confetti for the stewardship of the constituency over the last two decade.

“Everywhere I go in the constituency people come up to me and ask me 'why you choose to throw your hat in the political ring?' Well, tonight I going tell you. Mi fed up! It's time the good people stand up… I'm here tonight as your candidate to contest the by-election on March 5, because it is time for trustworthy people to offer themselves,” the woman who, as principal, sold her house to prevent Padmore Primary School from closing, said.

There were chants of “gwaan mama” as high-energy supporters egged her on at the mass rally held to introduce her as the party's candidate.

Hayle will face the JLP's Dr Nigel Clarke, a neophyte like herself to representational politics, but Prime Minister Andrew Holness's go-to man in the poll, triggered by the resignation of veteran politician Derrick Smith, who headed the largely middle-class constituency for 29 years.

Political pundits, including Shalman Scott, have called it for the JLP and have said any other result is unlikely to occur. Clarke is ambassador plenipotentiary for economic affairs and serves as chairman for the National Housing Trust.

But Hayle, like a small axe chopping at a mighty tree, urged the sparse crowd to give her a chance, while promising to “create political history” with campaign manager, former St Andrew West Rural MP Paul Buchanan.

And signs that the party is all but riled up about the task has not dampened Hayle's energy.

“Comrades, I am representing the new generation of aspiring politicians and I ask you, the electorate of this dynamic constituency, only one thing: Don't doubt me before you try me. I am tested and I am proven, and I say to you that before political life that you can know what your candidate is going to do while in political life. I will give my all for the people…” the woman, who holds two bachelors degree from the University of the West Indies in psychology and political science, and a master's degree from The Mico University College in education, stressed.

“I intend to win this seat in the upcoming by-election; don't doubt me, Comrades, before you try me. I declare as your candidate in the upcoming by-election, that I've thrown my hat in the ring because I want the endgame for the electors of this constituency.”

She later told the Jamaica Observer that she is the right candidate for the right time.

“I've lived here 40 years in this constituency and I've seen the needs of the people; I've heard the cries of the people and I am here to deliver them,” she said.

While not disclosing a strategy when asked, she stressed that “all people of the constituency is for Keisha and Keisha is for all”.

“I am quite energised about this and I am ready to take on the economics of North West St Andrew,” she said, adding that Padmore Primary will “never go down again”, even if she leaves to take up national duty as MP.

“I'll work with the ministry to find the right person to ensure its continued success,” she told the Sunday Observer.

As for her Facebook rants against the party leader Dr Peter Phillips, she simply said that there is no better leader for the country now and that the two have gone past their perceived differences.

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