Tue | Jan 19, 2021

Hanna resurfaces in St Ann South Eastern

Published:Sunday | November 29, 2020 | 12:14 AMCarl Gilchrist - Sunday Gleaner Writer

A billboard with St Ann South Eastern Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna’s image graces the premises of her constituency office in Claremont, St Ann.
A billboard with St Ann South Eastern Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna’s image graces the premises of her constituency office in Claremont, St Ann.

South East St Ann Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna returned to work last Tuesday after reportedly going on leave. Her unexplained absence had given rise to speculation among her constituents that she might be giving up politics – or at least the constituency.

Hanna reportedly fell off the radar after losing her bid to ascend to the presidency of the opposition People’s National Party (PNP) on November 7. The following week, she was reportedly ill and missed the King’s House ceremony for the appointment of winner Mark Golding as leader of the Opposition.

Sunday Gleaner checks revealed that the MP has been working in the constituency since she returned from leave last week.

After her near defeat in the September general election and her subsequent loss in the PNP leadership race, her absence from the constituency had set tongues wagging.

One sympathetic constituent suggested that Hanna needed a break after two stressful elections in a short period. Others, however, rubbished the sentiment.

“I haven’t seen her anywhere,” said one woman in Claremont – where Hanna’s constituency office is based –who gave her name only as Angie.

According to her, Hanna has not been doing enough work in the constituency, hence her victory by just a slender 31-vote margin in what was once considered one of the safest seats for the PNP.

“She was too comfortable so she wasn’t doing much work,” Angie pointed out, adding that infrastructural work and creating employment opportunities should be among the MP’s top priorities.

One resident of Orange Park also lamented the MP’s absence from her community.

“I hardly see her,” she said, “and most times [when] she has a meeting, we hardly hear about it anyway.”

Questioned as to why that is, she replied: “I’m not sure, but that’s how it is in my community.”

When told that the MP is at the office on specific days, the Orange Park resident questioned the logic behind staying in office instead of going out to see the constituents.

“If we need anything, we have to go to the office? She don’t come around and talk to us and to see what is the matter in our community, what is it we need in our community, what are the changes we want and stuff like that?” she asked.

One constituent in Parry Town said that Hanna had made a low-keyed appearance in the community last Thursday, touring areas where recent rains had caused damage to roads.

“Comrades didn’t even hear about it. Even with the recent flood rains, I think we would have seen her more, but I don’t know … ,” she said, trailing off.

PROLONGED ABSENCE

“I don’t think I had heard anything from her since [the general election], but certainly nothing since the presidential loss,” she said. “I don’t know if it has affected her to the point where she might feel ‘a way’ to come back out. It’s been a prolonged period that she has been absent and I was wondering how long she was going to keep it up. I’m even wondering if she’s on her way out of politics or out of the constituency because we’re not seeing her.”

While Hanna could not be reached for a full interview, councillor for the Beecher Town division in South East St Ann, Ian Bell, told The Sunday Gleaner that Hanna just returned to work last Tuesday, although he wasn’t sure of how long she was away, but said it was definitely after the November 7 PNP election.

“I know she toured the entire Beecher Town division yesterday (Thursday), including the flood-prone areas of Parry Town, and the day before, she was in the Claremont division at a grave-digging,” he said on Friday.

Bell said that to the best of his knowledge, apart from the period when she was on leave, Hanna has been working in South East St Ann.

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