Hayle committed to improving constituency
Four minutes to the 10:30 a.m. time allotted for the nomination of People's National Party (PNP) candidate in St Andrew North West, Keisha Hayle, fewer than 10 party supporters were visible in the precincts of the Pembroke Hall Community Centre.
However, just when it appeared it would only be a handful of Comrades, a burst of orange emerged from Ken Hill Drive and headed down the road named after one of the famous four, who were expelled from the PNP, by its co-founder, National Hero N.W. Manley.
Hayle, a schoolteacher, accom-panied by chairman of Region Three, Phillip Paulwell, along with the party's top brass, arrived at the centre half an hour later than their scheduled time.
A few glitches later, nomination was completed and party leader Dr Peter Phillips, post nomination, said there was a pattern of victimisation of the PNP and its supporters.
"We have experienced over the past two years an inclination on the part of the authorities, the now Government, to victimise. We have every confidence in Keisha Hayle, and we think, contrived as it was, any effort to say to her, having been on leave, to come and answer questions in the ministry on nomination day, is evidence of an unnecessary contrivance which would suggest victimisation given the evidence," said Phillips, responding to questions of the audit controversy swirling around Hayle for Padmore Primary School, for which she is principal.
News emerged that an audit of the school was done, from which Education Minister Ruel Reid has distanced himself.
Phillips said he was proud of Hayle, who mortgaged her house to provide resources for the children of the school, which was termed a failing school. He said her entry into the constituency was not a stepping stone to something else, but an expression of her lifelong commitment to service.
Hayle said she was committed to making the constituency a model one, which includes improving security and roads and creating employment opportunities for the youth.
The day was not without incident, however, as a Comrade, declaring that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporter preparing to sell wares "was not supposed to be there", came out on the receiving end of a "drape-up" by the woman he accosted. He lost his shirt and false teeth in the process.
A police official who intervened told The Gleaner, "I was helping him to look for his teeth, but I don't know if he found it."
Comrades then went after two JLP supporters, sending one fleeing for police protection, while the police formed a ring around the other and dispersed the crowd.
Director of Elections Orrette Fisher said there was no law preventing JLP supporters from being where they were.