Jamaica Gleaner / The People’s National Party’s (PNP) standard- bearer in the North West St Andrew constituency, Keisha Hayle, has set her eyes on overturning the three-decade reign of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the constituency by targeting the more than 18,000 persons who have consistently stayed away from the polls.
That task is being viewed in the political circles as an uphill battle for Hayle, who is expected to go up against Dr Nigel Clarke in a by-election on March 5 to replace retired Member of Parliament Derrick Smith.
Having lived in the constituency for more than 40 years, the political neophyte fancies her chances against Clarke, who has less known ties to the area.
Speaking at a PNP mass rally last Thursday at the Maverley Primary School, Hayle declared that she was “fed up and tired” of the status quo , and pleaded for a chance to turn around the constituency which she described as being “dark”.
In the presence of PNP big-wigs, including party president Dr Peter Phillips, Hayle declared that she had the capacity to pull off one of the greatest political upsets in Jamaican politics, courtesy of her well-publicised achievement of turning around Padmore Primary, a school once on the decline.
“Don’t doubt me before you try me. I am tested and I am proven,” an animated Hayle declared during her maiden address on the political platform, triggering cheering among the party faithful who turned out.
“I have to stand in the ring, because when I walk through this constituency, all I see is suffering – 29 years of suffering,” added Hayle, as she declared that “on March 5, it shall end”.
Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner after the rally, Hayle said she was not intimidated by the strong showing of the JLP at the polls in recent times.
The soon-to-be candidate asserted that she would win by a landslide with the guidance of Paul Buchanan, the former MP of West Rural St Andrew, who lost to Juliet Curthbert-Flynn in the 2016 general election.
“North West St Andrew will wake up and see that they have the right candidate, the right woman, the right nanny to lead them out of this wilderness.
“Come March 5, all good citizens of North West St Andrew must put their ‘x’ squarely beside Keisha Hayle, the performer,” she added, still on a high after her platform address.
Hayle said she had not resigned from the post of principal at Padmore Primary, but she has taken special leave to contest the by-election.