(Jamaica Observer) SANTA CRUZ, St Elizabeth — An elated Daren Powell says he is now eagerly looking forward to political representation having triumphed in yesterday’s parish council contest for the Malvern Division in South East St Elizabeth.
“I am feeling very happy, but not just because I have won,” the former West Indies fast bowler told the Jamaica Observer early yesterday.
“The thing is that now I am in a better position to work with the people of the division in dealing with the issues we have identified over the past several weeks of the campaign… and must now find a way to deal with them,” he said.
Powell, representing the People’s National Party (PNP), defeated the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Donald Simpson by 361 votes in the preliminary count. Powell polled 1,687 votes to Simpson’s 1,326 — the preliminary figures reflecting a turnout way above the national average, said to be about 34 per cent.
Powell said he will be lobbying for an existing community centre in Kinowl — located just outside the centre of Malvern — to be equipped as a training centre as part of the process going forward.
“We need to be helping young men to be trained and empowered,” he said. “When you are certified, it becomes easier to find work and to support yourself,” he said.
The 33-year-old, who played 37 Test matches between 2002 and 2009, said that for him political representation will involve processes for the building of communities and self-help capacities.
With just six weeks to campaign, having only been selected by the PNP as a candidate in early February, Powell said he found getting the people of the division to become acquainted with him through house-to-house visits, particularly challenging.
“It took a lot of time and effort to get into some (remote) areas and I was brand new to many people, but the experience was worth it,” he said.
So how is politics compared to cricket?
“When I was playing cricket people were always hailing me up as an individual personality, now they are coming to me with their issues and concerns,” Powell said.