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PNP rejects son of the soil aspirant for Hanover Eastern constituency

Published:Friday | December 1, 2023 | 12:09 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Craig Oates

WESTERN BUREAU

ALTHOUGH HE is a born and bred Hanover Eastern son, 49-year-old Craig Oates, who had put himself forward as an aspiring candidate in the Hanover Eastern constituency, to represent the People’s National Party (PNP) in the next general election, has been rejected by the party.

Oates, who has been serving as the constituency chairman since July of this year when he was elected unopposed at the constituency conference, was written to by the party, telling him that he will not be the party’s representative for the next general election.

DON ANDERSON POLL

In a letter dated November 16, 2023, with the heading ‘Decision Regarding Candidacy in Eastern Hanover for the next general election’, under the signature of the party’s general secretary, Dayton Campbell, Oates was told that the decision for his rejection came about based on the results of a recent Don Anderson poll, and the state of the constituency.

“The executive committee meeting on Monday, November 13, 2023, discussed the poll results and the state of the constituency. Based on the results and having looked at the current political landscape and the strategic direction the party aims to pursue, the executive committee has decided that your aspiration to become the party’s standard bearer, is regrettably at an end,” the letter read.

The letter went on to thank Oates for offering himself to be the party’s standard bearer, adding that his work over the last several months in the constituency has not gone unnoticed.

“We look forward to your continued work as the chairman of the constituency,” the letter concluded.

PARTY MACHINERY

Checks with some PNP supporters within the constituency have revealed that since the defeat by Dave Brown of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) of Wavel Hinds of the PNP in the general election of 2020, the PNP’s machinery in that constituency has been without a leader, until Oates decided to take up the mantle and re-energised it.

When The Gleaner contacted Oates, who is overseas, he expressed his disappointment at the new development, but stated that on his return to Jamaica in a matter of weeks, he will be calling a public meeting to inform the constituents about the situation.

“I do not want to say much right now, but I am not going to resign as chairman of the constituency, as I have been contacted by over 80 per cent of the electors in the constituency who do not want me to resign,” he stated.

Emphasising that over the years several non-Hanovarians have been brought into the constituency to run as member of parliament, Oates argued that it is full time that the practice stops, adding, “We believe that Hanover is for Hanovarians.”

He called for a more transparent process within the PNP towards selecting a candidate to represent the constituency, while outlining that he has been through a three-pronged process since making his aspirations known, with positive results all the way, yet at this late moment he is being told that he will not be given the chance to represent the people of Hanover Eastern, his place of birth.

Vice chairman of the constituency, Wynter McIntosh, who is also the councillor caretaker for the Chester Castle division in the Hanover Municipal Corporation, told The Gleaner that he is a little disappointed about the new developments with regard to the PNP not using Oates as its candidate in the next general election.

DISAPPOINTED

“I am disappointed because he has been out there, has done and is doing a lot of work, even  in the Chester Castle division alongside me, so I am disappointed that he has not gotten the nod,” he stated.

He added that in personal conversations with Oates, Oates has given his personal commitment to the people of Hanover and the PNP, which confirms that he will not be resigning from the position of constituency chairman.

Oates also told The Gleaner that whatever might happen, on his return to Jamaica he will be working assiduously to assist the three councillor candidates of the PNP in Hanover Eastern, to secure wins in the next local government election due by February 2024.