Tue | Sep 29, 2020

Amos twice a failure, says Graham - Political heat turns up in St Catherine North West

Published:Thursday | August 13, 2020 | 12:23 AM
Hugh Graham, who is replacing the retiring Robert Pickersgill as standard-bearer for St Catherine North West in the September 3 general election.
Hugh Graham, who is replacing the retiring Robert Pickersgill as standard-bearer for St Catherine North West in the September 3 general election.

DESPITE WHAT appears to be a waning 31-year stranglehold by the People’s National Party (PNP) on the St Catherine North West constituency, Hugh ‘Hugo’ Graham, the man who has been handed the baton to go up against the Jamaica Labour Party’s Newton Amos in the September 3 general election, says his work speaks for him.

Graham said that he is expecting endorsement from the majority of the constituents.

In 2011, the PNP’s Robert Pickersgill trounced the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Dr Sandra Nesbeth, winning by 3,075 votes. However, while scoring another victory in 2016, Pickersgill’s margin was reduced to 1,007 against Amos, with an election swing in favour of the JLP.

Pickersgill is retiring from representational politics.

Graham already has a foothold in the constituency, having scored three wins as councillor in the Lluidas Vale division.

For Graham, the name Newton Amos does not pose a significant political challenge.

“Amos has tried to be a councillor in Linstead, and the people rejected him,” Graham said, noting that the retired policeman had challenged Pickersgill and had also been “rejected by the people of St Catherine North West”.

Graham said that he has doubled his margin of victory in the Lluidas Vale division since becoming councillor.

He believes that the erosion in the PNP majority in the 2016 general election was sparked by the national swing to the JLP.

“There is a factor that you would have lost touch, for example, with the young people and the persons your age. Those voters are dying. For me, that is a natural phenomenon.

“It is nothing that I am worried about,” Graham said.

Accused by Amos of seldom attending sittings of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation, Graham retorted: “As old-time people say, ‘Mouth mek fi say anything.’”

Achievements as councillor

Pointing to some of his achievements as councillor, Graham said that with help from Food For The Poor and the Diana Stewart Foundation, he established the Top Hill Basic School.

The CEO of Paramount Trading also highlighted the development of the Lluidas Vale Community Centre with irrigation for the field. The councillor said that he has also carried out work to develop and improve the Tydixon, Polly Ground, and Orange Field community centres.

“When it comes to education, I have gone to Polly Ground (Primary) and put in three classrooms. I have gone to Jericho (Primary) and put in two classrooms,” he said.

“That’s just a titbit as a councillor. What has he done apart from talk?” Graham said, taking a swipe at Amos.

“Can he point to one stone that he has moved for the years that he has been here apart from talking and walking around and criticising? It’s a black people thing, and I am sorry that we pull down people because they are doing good,” he charged.

Graham attributes his success as a businessman to God, adding that his entry into politics was not to get a job. “I come to serve because the good Lord has blessed me well, and I come to bless some other people. That’s all I am interested in.”

In an exchange of political banter, Graham sent a message to Amos: “If you don’t care like Hugo cares, it is better you leave it to someone who cares.”