People’s National Party (PNP) president Mark Golding will choose a new representative for South East St Ann as the three candidates—Dr Kenneth Russell, Wavell Hinds and Patricia Duncan-Sutherland—seeking the role in an internal selection exercise yesterday (June 11) failed to garner the 50 per cent minimum needed to win outright.
At the top was Russell, who was attributed 358 votes from the 778-delegate pool, followed closely by Hinds with 245 and Duncan-Sutherland collecting 171 voted.
PNP General Secretary Dayton Campbell, who the PNP’s release quoted, stated that the impasse has since been referred to its Election Monitoring Committee and Region One officers to “determine the process which may involve a run-off with the top two aspirants”.
The sitting opposition, citing a clause in the Bye Rules, says the results were inconclusive.
“…[T]he winning MP aspirant must receive a minimum of 50% plus one of the total votes cast on the day for him/her to be deemed a provisional candidate for the constituency. None of these three aspirants presented to the delegates met that threshold,”
In the meantime, the PNP warned that any declaration of a winner in its candidate selection exercise would be premature, an appeal which seemed to have missed outgoing three-term Member of Parliament, Lisa Hanna, in her midnight ‘congratulatory tweet’.
Hanna, whose exit from representation politics has triggered the candidacy vacuum in South East St Ann, extended her “unwavering support” to Russell.
“Congratulations Dr. Kenneth Russel. I wish you only the very best as you work towards becoming the MP for the great people of South East St. Ann. I am pleased that the delegates of SESA had the opportunity to cast their votes in selecting the candidate they believe is best suited to represent the PNP in the next general elections,” she said this morning.
Congratulations Dr. Kenneth Russel. I wish you only the very best as you work towards becoming the MP for the great people of South East St. Ann.— Lisa Hanna (@LisaHannamp) June 12, 2023
I am pleased that the delegates of SESA had the opportunity to cast their votes in selecting the candidate they believe is best… pic.twitter.com/BkkbzFyFjP
The constituency of South East St Ann has been a stronghold for the PNP since the 1959 general elections. Only once has a JLP candidate won in South East St Ann, achieved by Patricia Pink in 1983.
A political newcomer, Russell preemptively handed both Hinds and Duncan Sutherland another taste of defeat if even by the smallest of margins.
The result might be a tough pill to swallow for Hinds, who lost a previous race to Gordon House during the 2020 general election at the hands of the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Dave Brown in Hanover Eastern.
Duncan Sutherland was also made to capitulate to Pearnel Charles Junior in September 2020, as he staved off another challenge to remain MP for Clarendon South Eastern.