The quest to find a representative for Northern Trelawny continued on Wednesday as North Trelawny PNP supporters protested in Water Square.
PNP members and supporters chanted: “No Atkinson, no vote!” This is in reference to the challenge to replace the incumbent MP Patrick Atkinson in the Trelawny constituency. The party had previously indicated that there is no challenge to Atkinson, but unconfirmed reports are that an internal poll done by the party in the constituency to gauge support for Atkinson, did not look good. The demonstration was against the perceived threat to remove Atkinson.
This follows the drama on Friday in Falmouth, when supporters of Atkinson clashed with supporters of challenger JP White.
Now, Atkinson supporters are saying they will stay away from the polls if Atkinson is replaced as People’s National Party representative. They say this will result in a JLP victory in the safe PNP constituency.
It is not clear if and when a decision will be made to replace Patrick Atkinson as PNP caretaker for North Trelawny.
The North Trelawny tussle may just get even more interesting. A name that came to national attention quite recently, is being rumored as the possible choice of the party for North Trelawny. Note that, because Trelawny is unrecognised (does not have enough dues paying groups), it is left up to the party to choose the candidate. The drama continues.
More from The Jamaica Observer:
FALMOUTH, Trelawny — The People’s National Party (PNP) selection of candidates for the upcoming elections was again thrown into the spotlight yesterday when North Trelawny supporters staged a peaceful demonstration in the historic Water Square, demanding that party president, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller move with speed to finalise the constituency’s standard-bearer.
“First thing is that we consider our constituency as the only one that has not been decided upon fully. And we continue waiting and we don’t get any answer from the hierarchy of the party; we assume that certain people up top are taking tales from a few persons in the constituency about the (sitting) MP,” said one protester who spoke to the Jamaica Observer on condition of anonymity.
“No Atkinson! No vote!” were the concerted chants of the disenchanted PNP supporters, who want Patrick Atkinson, the attorney general, to remain as their candidate.
They expressed concerns about what they described as “a clandestine plot” by members of the party hierarchy to replace Atkinson with aspiring candidate, JP White, in a “Nicodemus fashion”.
Said a male demonstrator: “We are sending a signal to Portia Simpson Miller; Mumma a fi yuh place but we want Mr Atkinson to stay. If it is not Mr Atkinson, Labourite going take it. This is just the start. It is a momentum that is building. If we don’t get any satisfaction from the party it is going to build because we naw stop.”
“We naw ease up,” a female protester added.
One demonstrator questioned why anti-Atkinson Comrades were travelling around the constituency in motorcades with White when there is a sitting MP.
“We don’t know this man. We only see this man come in the constituency, we don’t know him. We don’t know anything about his background, we don’t know anything about him. We only see him spring up and certain people a follow him,” claimed one Comrade.
“The first thing them go a (PNP annual) conference and carry shirt and placard, the party should deal with that. That shouldn’t happen! Them come back, them have motorcade say them a go out and the party hierarchy not speaking to us [but] sliding another person through the back door.”
From as early as 8:00am yesterday, the Atkinson loyalists gathered at the PNP constituency office armed with placards bearing pro-Atkinson slogans, before snaking their way to Water Square where they gathered until late afternoon.
In a twist of fate, in 2011 after then MP Dr Patrick Harris decided not to seek re-election, party supporters protested outside the party’s constituency office in Falmouth against plans by the party to install Atkinson, a former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) member, as its representative for the constituency.
But yesterday, they defended Atkinson’s stewardship since taking over the reins as MP following the December 2011 General Election after beating former JLP Senator Dennis Meadows by more than 2,000 votes.
Curated from The Jamaica Observer