MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Seven months after mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell said he would not be seeking re-election in the Royal Flat Division, he is now reconsidering that decision.
Mitchell, who has represented the division as councillor for over two decades, said he would be prepared to represent the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) in the absence of an “appropriate” replacement candidate.
“If they (party) have concluded all the things they need to do to find a candidate and they have not come up with an appropriate candidate, it would be remiss of me to just walk away like that and leave my division that I have worked in for 20-odd years without representation,” he told the Jamaica Observer recently.
Mitchell in mid-2022 told the Observer during an interview at his Mandeville home that he would be stepping away from representational politics due to health issues and other reasons.
However, recently Mitchell told the Sunday Observer that his health had improved.
“It (Royal Flat division) is one of the hardest divisions to win, but I had indicated to the party before that I wasn’t running back… If they have not found anybody, I would not just leave it like that. My health has significantly improved, I will tell you that,” he said.
When asked if his relationship with Manchester Central constituency chairman Senator Peter Bunting had improved since reported differences in mid-2022, Mitchell described it this way: “It is work in progress”.
Last June, Mitchell had said: “Everybody knows that the relationship that we had is not what we have now. From the general election of 2020 there has been some situations, the run off between Mark (Golding) and Lisa (Hanna) has reopened the wounds and all of that, and so you know we really [say] hi and bye”.
He suggested that the relationship with the constituency chairman is not beyond repair.
“… It is not what it used to be but we are not enemies and it is not that we are not on speaking terms, if we see each other, we call to each other. We might have a social conversation, but it is not that it [has] gone to a place where it can’t come back, because I don’t keep animosity in me,” said Mitchell.
Efforts to get a comment from Senator Bunting were unsuccessful.
Mitchell said he now has a better relationship with councillors in the Manchester Municipal Corporation following a breakdown in 2021.
At the time Mitchell tendered his resignation as mayor, but later withdrew it.
“Since the time when I had decided that I was going to step down as Mayor, I think based on some things that were said there could have been some serious misunderstanding, but things have changed. I don’t want to say, it is my leadership style, but I think they (councillors) didn’t understand the process…” said Mitchell.
“The relationship has improved. They understand and they think my leadership needed a little bit of [improvement]. I am not a one man band. Some thought I was, but I was never. We have not gone to the point where we are not on speaking terms. None of the councillors and I are vex,” added the mayor.
He said councillors are aware of his plans to continue leading the local municipality for now.
“They know my [plan] since I am the mayor, is to maintain my chairmanship and to continue to do the work for the people of the parish. When an election is called and the results come out then all the other things can follow,” he said.
Mitchell told the Sunday Observer that he was aware of applicants to replace him as the PNP candidate in the Royal Flat division.
“I know two or three persons have applied and they accepted two and they were asked to do some work. I have not been to any of the internal meetings of the party and I am yet to know whether or not they will be choosing from one or the other,” he said.
“I think I owe it to the people of the Royal Flat division… If they (party) have not found anybody,” he added.
Chairman of the PNP’s Region Five – Manchester and St Elizabeth – Kern Spencer said he will be giving an update on the division “soon”.
“I will be in a position to make a public announcement very soon as it relates to the Royal Flat division. We have been having talks – including with Councillor Donovan Mitchell, because he has served the people for very long and they hold him in high esteem, so any talks or decision with respect to the Royal Flat division has to include him and has to include his input,” Spencer told the Sunday Observer on Friday.
“Royal Flat division will be placed in safe hands ensuring victory for the People’s National Party,” added the regional chairman.