North Trelawny PNP Challenge
PNP General Secretary, Paul Burke, has said that there are challenges being sent for leadership in 12 constituencies. One of them is our own North Trelawny, currently led by Attorney General Patrick Atkinson. Two other persons have indicated interest to replace him in the constituency: Paul Stewart (brother of former MP Wendell ‘Bull Bull’ Stewart) and JP Whyte.
Rumors were running around that Atkinson would not be seeking re-election, but he referred to those rumors as sabotage. “That is completely untrue,” he added. “I have every intention of going back as your member of parliament for Northern Trelawny.”
His stewardship of the constituency however, has been called into question time and time again. Many complain of him being missing from the constituency. Many in the constituency have not seen him since the campaign of the last General elections in 2011. Insiders in the PNP are saying he is going to be a ‘hard sell’ for the upcoming elections.
In his address though, Atkinson defended his stewardship by listing among his achievements his representation to repair the Duncans to Clark’s Town main road, the paving of the Wakefield Square, construction of a pedestrian bridge in Rodney Bottom, and his continued assistance with the tuition fees of especially tertiary students.
Who will be Atkinson’s opponent if he is returned as candidate? Ernest Smith of the JLP, who has helped Atkinson’s cause by being even just as ‘invisible.’ Both candidates therefore, will be a hard sell and the voter turnout should be extremely low for the next elections. Of interest, a low turnout favors the PNP, which has a larger base of die hard supporters.
Speaking at the constituency conference in Falmouth on Sunday, Atkinson lashed out at his detractors and gave an interesting insight into North Trelawny politics:
Embattled Trelawny Northern MP calls detractors liars
FALMOUTH, Trelawny — EMBATTLED Trelawny Northern Member of Parliament Patrick Atkinson has launched a scathing broadside against Comrades who wants him replaced as the People’s National Party (PNP) standard-bearer for the constituency.
During the public session of his annual constituency conference at Water Square in Falmouth, Sunday, Atkinson labelled as liars those whom he said were circulating false information that he will not be seeking re-election.
“You all know there are persons in this constituency who are going around making announcements, trying to sabotage my position as member of parliament. Theirs is a campaign that’s based on lies. I know this because people call me and tell me that there are persons who have been brought to them, and amongst their small entourage of about four persons, they are saying that I am not going back as MP and that some persons they are bringing around are sent by the party,” Atkinson said.
“That is completely untrue,” he added. “I have every intention of going back as your member of parliament for Northern Trelawny.”
He also sought to set the record straight that the party hierarchy has not sent any candidate to campaign in the constituency.
“The People’s National Party sent nobody down here; that is a lie. You will remember when the People’s National Party asked me to run here, the chairman of the party, the chairman of the region, the prime minister herself, and all the executives came here in person and say this is the man. Which one of them has come here to introduce any person?” questioned a furious Atkinson.
He also took a jab at the two prospects who have been brought into the constituency to challenge his reign.
“Any person who comes here to run and base their campaign on lies, which you can prove to be lies, you know what to expect if you ever make the mistake to endorse them. Persons who run for the PNP elsewhere and couldn’t make it there are trying to come here as if is some refugee camp for defeated candidates,” he said, to rapturous applause from the small gathering.
He was making reference to Paul Stewart and JP Whyte who are both said to be seeking to replace him.
Meanwhile, Atkinson also took a swipe at the Comrades in the constituency who are now undermining him, accusing them of repeating what they did to two of his predecessors, Wendell ‘Bull Bull’ Stewart and Dr Patrick Harris.
“When one offers to serve their country it must be borne out of a desire to serve, not to seek benefits for themselves. I ask you all to be judge. When Bull Bull was the MP some persons came forward to sabotage his position as MP, and then Dr Harris came and the same set of people start to sabotage Dr Harris. It seems Comrades that every four years these people emerge and seek to undermine and sabotage the member of parliament,” Atkinson lashed out.
He added: “People tell me that there are some people, who, when they think they have gotten all they can out of a MP, you seek to get a brand new one to start again.”
Atkinson, who is also the attorney general of Jamaica, stoutly defended his stewardship since taking over the reins as MP in 2011 after beating former JLP Senator Dennis Meadows by over 2000 votes.
Before he was interrupted by the arrival of party Chairman Robert Pickersgill, who came shortly after another party stalwart, Dr Wykeham McNeill, Atkinson listed among his achievements his representation to repair the Duncans to Clark’s Town main road, the paving of the Wakefield Square, construction of a pedestrian bridge in Rodney Bottom, and his continued assistance with the tuition fees of especially tertiary students.
“I make this solemn promise that the people of North Trelawny as a whole will have my full dedication and attention, and not any one and two special interests. I am working for the betterment of the constituency on a whole,” Atkinson said to the gathering, from which most of the top brass of the constituency, including several of his councillors, were missing.
“I thank every one of you who have supported me as your member of parliament over the last three-and-a-half years. You have my eternal gratitude and love, and [I] am truly obliged.”
The JLP has selected attorney-at-law Ernie Smith as its candidate for the constituency in the pending general election.
Curated from: The Jamaica Observer