Sat | Sep 30, 2023

PNP eyes comeback in Manchester, St Elizabeth

Published:Monday | August 29, 2022 | 12:09 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Kern Spencer addresses the audience at a People’s National Party Region Five meeting at Brompton Primary School in St Elizabeth on Sunday.
Kern Spencer addresses the audience at a People’s National Party Region Five meeting at Brompton Primary School in St Elizabeth on Sunday.


Approximately six months before local government elections are due, the Opposition People’s National Party is reporting that its 30 candidates in Manchester and St Elizabeth are ready to take control of those municipal corporations.

Kern Spencer, chairman of the party’s Region Five, which covers the two parishes, gave that assessment to delegates and supporters at Sunday’s annual Region Executive Council (REC) meeting at Brompton Primary School in St Elizabeth.

Following the 2016 local government elections, the party retained control of the Manchester Municipal Corporation with 10 seats to the JLP’s five. However, the PNP lost two of those seats by way of the resignation of the former deputy mayor and councillor for the Spur Tree division, Ervin Facey, amid a fraud investigation.

The second seat was lost to the JLP two years ago when Councilor Faith Simpson-Nickle of the Johns Hall division in Manchester North Western defected to the JLP.

The PNP now has eight seats to the JLP’s six, with one remaining vacant.

“The parishes of Manchester and St Elizabeth, as it relates to the local government elections, we are ready,” Spencer declared. “The candidates are ready in all of the 30 divisions.”

Spencer expressed disappointment at the ruling JLP’s handling of governance when it postponed the municipal elections when they were constitutionally due in February 2022.

In the 2016 election, the JLP took control of 10 of 13 municipal corporations to the PNP’s three. Among those are Westmoreland, Hanover, and Manchester.

The Opposition also won the Portmore Municipal Corporation.

Local polls have been rescheduled to February 2023.

Meanwhile, Spencer, who was returned unopposed as Region Five chairman Sunday, said the political machinery was well oiled and the spirit of party candidates and workers extremely high.

He said the party would be ready to win all eight parliamentary seats in Manchester and St Elizabeth if the Government should call a general election.

Mikael Phillips, of Manchester North Western, is the only opposition MP in Region Five.

“We accepted that in the last general election, we were defeated in a number of seats. We have seen where the region is usually, six of eight seats, and we are down to one,” said Spencer.

But Comrades, that situation is about to change in Region Five. The political machinery in Region Five is a different one since the last 12 months.”

The PNP will hold its annual conference in September.