Businessman Rudyard ‘Kippy’ Mears was this evening announced as the provisional candidate for the governing People’s National Party (PNP) in St Catherine South West despite his rival Dr Keste Miller belatedly boycotting the election.
The selection exercise went ahead nonetheless with Mears trouncing the former Government Senator 567-10.
But the official announcement will be made at the PNP headquarters in Kingston tomorrow following a review of the process with General Secretary Paul Burke and other members of the party hierarchy.
Despite Miller’s late decision not to participate in the democratic process, today’s election to decide who will challenge the Jamaica Labour Party’s Everald Warmington, was “free and fair”, Denise Daley, chairman of the PNP Region Four, told Old Harbour News.
“Comrade Keste Miller has explained from morning that he would not want to be a part of the process, so we cannot use the 10 to determine how many amount of votes that he got. However, we will be going to the secretariat to have a proper result to be able to give to you and the constituents so that you will be able to give your support,” Daley declared after announcing the results which she referred to as “preliminary”.
The process was also overseen by PNP Vice President Noel Arscott, who called for unity inside the party amid an unusual high amount of internal elections.
“What we know is that a unified People’s National Party cannot be stopped. Unity is what we are about,” Arscott told scores of supporters. “I’m sorry Comrade Miller is not here because we want to fix up the business of the PNP side and deal with the JLP.”
“Old Harbour, today has been a good day for the People’s National Party, we expect unity, we expect solidarity and we expect victory. I’m going to see the party leader tomorrow and I am going to tell her that the people of south west St Catherine is ready for the People’s National Party,” he added.
With his status of being the caretaker of the constituency almost assured, an elated Mears also called for unity.
“Comrades, I officially thank you for your support but we have a task ahead and we don’t need just the support here, we need the support of the others who didn’t support me in this selection. We need the support of this constituency who is looking on at us, the way we conduct ourselves, the way we conduct our business… and I want to appeal to you that tomorrow morning it must be one love for the People’s National Party in south west St Catherine and in Jamaica.
“Comrades, we have work to do, but we have to embrace (each other) for one purpose and it’s to defeat the Jamaica Labour Party in south west St Catherine and in Jamaica,” said Mears, who defeated Miller 90-35 last year in the race to become chairman of the constituency and was also retained unopposed for the said post a few weeks ago.
Old Harbour News understands that prior to the proceedings which got underway at 10 o’clock this morning; Dr Miller expressed dissatisfaction with the voter’s list, claiming that some of his supporters were not listed.
Except for a handful of supporters who hang around to hear the verdict, neither Dr Miller nor any member of his inner circle was seen when Old Harbour News got to the Portmore Community College, Old Harbour Campus.
And although she believes that the process can stand up to scrutiny, Daley was disappointed in the manner the Miller camp went about the issue.
Daley said: “The process was free and fair based on the list that we got from the general secretary of the People’s National Party.
“There were about 10 groups of people that were not on the list based on Comrade Keste Miller, who is one of the aspirants, (argument). But I was told that up to Thursday (last week) he had agreed with the list which was being distributed from the People’s National Party. And I was told that both candidates signed off on the list. I was then surprised that they were some concerns with the 10 groups. However, I met with some of the supporters of Comrade Keste Miller. I met with a group this morning who expressed the view that they were not able to vote as a result of not being on the list and I promised them that if they register today I would take the names to the People’s National Party headquarters and make sure that they were either eligible or not eligible to vote, and if they were eligible to vote we would fix a date and give those persons the right to vote and at that time we would count the total amount of ballots.
“They rejected it outright so I had no other choice more than to proceed as plan. I’m very disappointed overall that as a party we know how to communicate and to make sure that we get it right before today. And in my view if on Thursday you send a nominee and we did a walk through and you decided that everything was okay, even though the 10 groups were not there, in which he said he would love for them to be on the list, but they would proceed.
“I’m very sorry that everybody did not take part in the process, because his name was on the ballot and his photograph was on the ballot and persons still came and gave support in the way they thought.”
A total of 1200 delegates were eligible to vote.
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