Thu | Aug 13, 2020

PNP loses ground in Manchester municipality

Published:Friday | July 10, 2020 | 12:24 AMTamara Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Faith Sampson-Nickle (right) sits with Jamaica Labour Party councillors after crossing the floor yesterday.
Faith Sampson-Nickle (right) sits with Jamaica Labour Party councillors after crossing the floor yesterday.

A razor-thin majority now separates the People’s National Party-led Manchester Municipal Corporation (MMC) as Faith Sampson-Nickle, a councillor from the PNP, yesterday crossed the floor to join the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

With the ratio now standing at eight-seven, the PNP could lose their majority position if another member of the party decides to switch allegiance.

Sampson-Nickle of the John’s Hall division in Northwest Manchester, told The Gleaner that her constituents have been greeting her with open arms, and she is looking forward to continuing her service to the people from the other side.

“Not much has changed. Some persons have said they understand, and others are cheering me along, and it’s good, and it’s because of the relationship I had with my constituents,” she said.

The turncoat councillor said her decision to join the JLP was not done overnight but something that she had considered and prayed about.

Sampson-Nickle, who served the PNP for approximately 35 years, declined to comment on her reason for leaving the PNP.

However, Mayor Donovan Mitchell, in his capacity as chairman of the PNP parish campaign team, said the councillor’s low-performance rating in the division could have prompted her decision to switch parties.

Mitchell said that the party conducted polls in Central and Northwest Manchester, and there were adverse reviews for councillor Faith Sampson-Nickle.

He said that a meeting was held with Member of Parliament of the Northwest Manchester Mikael Phillips yesterday, and the PNP was now actively seeking a candidate for the division.

He said that this has not shaken the party, and they remain on track with plans for the upcoming election.

Dalton Brown, PNP councillor for the Alligator Pond division, said his colleague’s decision to cross the floor came as a surprise.

“This has come as a shock, quite cataclysmic. It is unfortunate that circumstances would have caused her to leave, but as a party, we just have to pull ourselves together and make the necessary provision to ensure that PNP is still a viable option for this parish,” he told The Gleaner.

Minority leader councillor Cleon Francis congratulated Sampson-Nickle for joining the JLP and urged her former PNP colleagues to treat the councillor with respect.