Mon | Aug 10, 2020

Tova Hamilton looks to break JLP drought in Northern Trelawny

Published:Thursday | July 2, 2020 | 12:19 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Tova Hamilton as she takes the Oath of Allegiance at the start of the sitting of the Upper House on June 26.
Tova Hamilton as she takes the Oath of Allegiance at the start of the sitting of the Upper House on June 26.

Before her entry into representational politics, Tova Hamilton had been working behind the scenes in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) at various levels, and was always being pushed to make the step which could land her a seat in the Upper House of Parliament.

Her eyes are on Northern Trelawny, the seat which has been elusive for the JLP since 1989.

Even though her campaign is less than six months old, Hamilton has come out swinging against the incumbent member of parliament, Victor Wright, who she accused of performing below par since being elected in 2016.

“I have not seen any project, any activity in the space that I can warrant as performance. People are unhappy, people are frustrated, and people want better.

“I am sure for the four years he can’t identify a major project he has completed there,” she said.

As a newcomer to representational politics, Hamilton is promising to do better than Wright.

“I could never be worse,” she touted.

The JLP has not won the constituency since 1989, but Hamilton is banking on her organisational skills to break the spell.

“We have done quite a bit of enumeration in the place. We have a lot of young people who believe that their voices must be heard at this point and they want change,” she asserted.

“My review of the constituency is that you find the same people involved in the process all the time, and for me, if you keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result, something is wrong,” she further said.

For the past two election cycles, Hamilton said she has been contemplating the move (to offer herself as a candidate), but only recently decided it was time to do so.

“I started out in politics through G2K Mona Campus Youth League (MCYL) and I was drawn to MCYL not because of the politics per se, but at the time it was a think tank. They did a lot of policy matters and a lot of philanthropic activities, and I was drawn to that,” said Hamilton, explaining to The Gleaner how she got her feet wet in the politics.

She said by the time MCYL had grown into a political movement, she had learnt the craft of politics.

“I was never one to consider myself to be at the forefront of politics. Representational politics was never a part of my plan, but over the years, people kept coming to me and asking if it is something that I would do.”

She told The Gleaner that having witnessed the day-to-day struggles of the people in her constituency, and having sought and got advice, she decided to throw her hat into the ring to battle for the Trelawny Northern seat.

Hamilton, who says she is a daughter of the soil, having grown up in Martha Brae, Hague and Falmouth, worked at the Attorney General’s Chambers, Factories Corporation of Jamaica, the National Solid Waste Management Authority, and, up until recently, was the deputy executive director of the Tourism Product Development Company.

She said she is big on philanthropy.

“The transition from philanthropy to politics was kinda easy,” she said, mentioning that she likes providing service to people.

While admitting that being a member of parliament for a rural constituency comes with extraordinary challenges, Hamilton said she was ready for the job.

“Being a rural MP, for me, I see it as a plus. I see it (the constituency) as a blank canvas. There is no development there. You are now free to roam and have vision for a space that is ready for development. I believe all the raw materials are there to make Trelawny the gateway to economic growth,” Hamilton said.

“I want my people in Trelawny to realise their fullest potential. I want them to prosper,” she added.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com