People’s National Party (PNP) supporters in the key swing seat of St Andrew West Rural are questioning reports that president of the party’s youth organisation Krystal Tomlinson is set to be named as its next standard bearer for the constituency.
News emerged on Monday that Tomlinson was set to be confirmed by the party’s secretariat to contest the seat which is held by the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, and which has changed hands to the victorious party in every election since 2007.
But yesterday several Comrades in the constituency said they were unaware of Tomlinson’s interest in the seat and they are prepared to support businessman Rohan Banks, who has spent the past two-and-a-half years working in the constituency.
Banks had lost a 2017 selection contest to Jennifer Housen but remained active in the constituency, where he has family and business ties.
“When it became clear that Jennifer was gone we just turned our attention to Rohan because we believed he was next in line and we know that this is a seat that the PNP could win if we started working with him right away,” said a PNP supporter who asked not to be named.
“Rohan would be a good candidate and we would want the party to come meet with us before deciding to impose anybody on we,” declared another of the Comrades who also asked not to be named.
General secretary of the PNP Julian Robinson yesterday said that no candidate has yet been confirmed for the constituency.
“The party is going through an internal process and will make a decision shortly,” said Robinson.
Since 2007, when the JLP’s Andrew Gallimore defeated the PNP’s Andrea Moore to retain the St Andrew West Rural constituency, the party that has won that seat has been elected to form the Government.
In 2011, the PNP’s Paul Buchanan polled 7,716 votes to Gallimore’s 7,479 to take the seat and help his party to election victory.
Buchanan registered a slight decline in votes polled in 2016 (7,638) which was not enough to stave off the challenge of newcomer Cuthbert Flynn who polled 9,736 to win the seat for the JLP and help that party earn the majority of seats in Parliament.
Against that background, the Comrades know that this is a seat the PNP needs to win whenever Prime Minister Andrew Holness calls the next general election if the PNP is to return to power.
“A candidate hasn’t been selected yet, but whoever is chosen will have the party’s full support because the goal is to win that seat,” declared one Comrade.