Khajeel Mais mom runs for PNP
Allana Mais says she wants to play a part in helping to improve Jamaica's justice system. Her son, Khajeel Mais, was murdered in 2011, and when the matter was finally tried, the accused, Patrick Powell, walked free.
Gutted by how the matter turned out, Allana has turned to politics as one way of helping to straighten out a system that has failed to punish the person or persons responsible for the death of young Khajeel.
"I want justice to be for everybody at every level. It should not be just where the buck stops," she said. Mais will be contesting the Norbrook Division on a People's National Party (PNP) ticket.
She said that she has always had a passion to serve people and "the fact that this has happened to my son only intensifies this reason because I see the lack of protection for the citizens as a major issue".
Norbrook has traditionally voted for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), but Mais, who said she was "raised in a PNP family", believes she has a very good chance of winning. She listed the late Hezekiah Molloy, who served as councillor for the Balcarres Division in Portland and as mayor of Port Antonio from 1986 - 1998, as a family member whose influence rubbed off on her.
toughest of seats
The JLP won Norbrook by 278 votes in 2012 at a time when the PNP was sweeping the majority of parish council seats across the island. In fact, Norbrook was among the 75 seats the JLP won even though its margin fell from 700 in 2007.
"There is a lot work to be done, but if you go out there and do the work, it is achievable," Mais said.
PNP President Portia Simpson Miller,who introduced Mais to Comrades at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston yesterday, where the PNP held the first of two national local government candidates' meetings, used her own story to illustrate that the toughest of seats can be won. She pointed to the fact that she campaigned and won the Whitfield Division seat in 1974 when people said it could not be done.
Mais, yesterday, admitted that she could benefit from name recognition and sympathy votes, especially since Khajeel's name is fresh in the minds of all Jamaicans. However, she told THE STAR that the path that took her into politics was paved a long time ago.
"It might influence my opportunities, but at the end of the day, people want good representation, and this is what I am offering. If you can identify with your people and they can identify with you, if you are viable and reachable ... We cannot solve all the problems, but we can, at least, find a way of making some of them less," the aspirant councillor said.
Powell, the man who was found not guilty of killing her son, was represented in court by a fellow Comrade, Patrick Atkinson.
Mais, when asked by THE STAR how it feels to be in the same party with the man who represented the man who was accused of killing her son, said, "I don't see it like that. In issues like these, I don't see colour.
"I am a part of this party because of family background and I can identify with the People's National Party. ... These persons, whatever their involvement is in my son's case, the party was before them, the party was before me," she said.