Ex-cop Amos vows to arrest PNP’s Graham
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
The words of Thomas H. Palmer, an educator, has seemingly inspired retired senior cop Newton Amos as he takes aim at his political rival to snatch a seat in Gordon House, Jamaica’s Parliament.
Twice in 2016, in the February general election and the November local government polls, Amos lost in his bid to become a member of parliament (MP) and councillor, respectively.
However, the man who hails from Mount Rosser in the St Catherine North West constituency has sounded a warning to his political opponent, the People’s National Party’s (PNP) Hugh ‘Hugo’ Graham, saying it will be different this time around.
Amos has vowed to end the 31-year unbroken run by the PNP in St Catherine North West, and to take the reins of the constituency after the next general election and introduce far-reaching developmental plans.
Convinced that the momentum was on his side to unseat the PNP in the upcoming election, the former senior cop said that his performance in the 2016 national polls was encouraging, having reduced the more than 3,000-vote lead of the seasoned PNP politician, Robert Pickersgill, to just 1,007.
Amos had only seven months to win the hearts and minds of the people of St Catherine North West in 2016, but now he believes he has the ascendancy.
With more political experience under his belt this time around, the retired 40-year veteran of the Jamaica Constabulary Force said that he can pull off a resounding victory. That would be a turn of fortune for the Labour Party, which saw Sandra Nesbeth being Pickersgill’s perennial beating stick over five consecutive elections.
“A day in politics is a hell of a time, and I consider myself as one of those persons in who the public in general has a certain level of confidence and trustworthiness,” Amos told The Gleaner in an interview at his business place in Linstead, St Catherine.
“This time I remained in the constituency. The prime minister asked me to remain. I have worked ceaselessly with the people, and I have supported the initiatives of the Government,” he added.
Amos divulged that he has employed a little more than 300 persons from the constituency in his company.
The businessman and politician said he has worked closely with the poor in the constituency, as well as clinics, hospitals, and schools.
The presumed disillusionment of voters has not gone unnoticed by Amos, who argues that a lack of trust in political representatives has given rise to apathy.
Voter turnout in the 2016 general election plunged to an all-time low of 47.7 per cent, with the exception of the 1983 snap election that was boycotted by the PNP.
The voter turnout for St Catherine North West in 2016 was 40.6 per cent, nearly eight percentage points lower than the national average.
The JLP caretaker said that for years, promises have been made but not fulfilled by political representatives.
Amos said that absentee MPs have also helped to increase disenchantment among the electorate.
“My mantra for good governance of the constituency, and of the people, is to ensure and maintain a high level of trustworthiness,” he said.
Addressing water problems in the constituency, Amos said that with a number of wells in North West there should not be a shortage in the supply of the natural fluid. However, he said that some areas, such as Orange Field, Tydixon, Mount Rosser, and McGrath, have suffered from a lack of water for years.
“The problems that we are having with water are the lack of a plan to distribute water, upgrade our wells, and ensure that new infrastructure is in place so that the people can be sufficiently supplied with water,” Amos said, adding that changes would take place when he becomes the new MP.
He claimed that the sitting MP had allegedly closed his constituency office on Fletchers Avenue, leaving his constituents without a central place to meet with him to discuss their problems.
Amos said he has had to take on the role of de facto MP.
“Every single day you come here, it is my office that PNP and JLP [supporters] are at for me to listen to their stories, listen to their issues, and to solve their problems,” he said.
In a direct message to the PNP’s Hugh Graham, who will run on the PNP’s ticket in the next election, Amos said that he and his party should “try to exhibit a higher level of representation and trustworthiness while they occupy the position that they are now in.
“It is unfair for them to be asking those same people that they represent over these many years to continue to vote for them with such dismal performance.”
He said that Graham’s attendance at the meetings of the municipality was less than impressive, and his performance as a councillor leaves much to be desired.
“How, then, can you not be able to perform as a councillor for a single division and now you seek to represent an entire constituency?” Amos said rhetorically.
Amos said that every major infrastructure had been run down under the leadership of Pickersgill in the constituency.