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Keith Hinds - ...maybe your first Mayor of Portmore
O. Hinds after he was nominated last Friday.
Williams, Senior Associate Editor
"I believe that the home is the place where we have
to start to strengthen the country and strengthen our
generation... that every Jamaican should take
seriously his or her responsibility
of running this country... In other words, I urge all of us
to get off the fence and vote... we must exercise that right
(to vote) if we are going to build this nation. And that is
a philosophy that I am very
SIGHT of husky, affable Keith Hinds in his smart dark-blue
business suit, tends to remind you of what is said about fat
people they are always very nice because they can't
fight and they can't run.
don't you believe it. Few mortals would want to tangle with
Keith at six foot two inches tall and 280 lb, and just now,
he is running for the time of his life as the JLP's candidate
for Mayor of the Municipality of Portmore which embraces 62
communities in south and south west St. Catherine.
Hinds, 43, is fast on his feet. When the venue for this scheduled
interview suddenly became unavailable, he came up with a workable
alternative in the bat of an eyelid - the cool interior of
his SUV. And he apologised for the inconvenience.
"Portmore man" - he lives in Hellshire - he operates
a pest control company and a little bakery, and this past
student of Excelsior School in Kingston describes himself
as a "self-made" man.
the 1998 Local Government Elections he lost to George Lee,
the PNP's candidate for the Parish Council seat in the Greater
Portmore North Division, but this time around he is pretty
confident that he will come out on top in the mayoral race,
come June 19.
What has attracted you to offer your services as Mayor of
I am a community person. I have always been involved in community
activities. I have always maintained a seriousness about me
as it relates to the community as a whole. There are people
who will tell you of their experience with me on the Hellshire
road. They have been out there dumping their garbage and I
have ordered them to take it up back. That's me.
I have always believed that when we get into the more serious
side of this, as Mayor of Portmore, there is much more that
I could do to enhance the quality of life in Portmore.
What is your vision of Portmore and what are the nuts and
bolts that you are going to use to achieve this vision?
I see Portmore as an area that was not laid out properly,
in the first place. We have to look at it, see how best we
can work with the infrastructure that is here. We need to
have a proper hospital in Portmore, we need to have proper
roads. We are looking at a large dormitory community whose
work force goes into Kingston. They need to get to Kingston
in a productive frame of mind.
it relates to the nuts and bolts, I am a hands-on individual.
If we set up a municipality which we are going to do
and I am the Mayor, we are going to have administrators.
Those administrators are going to have to perform because
they can forget any ideas they have in their head about this
ceremonial Mayor sitting down there and just smiling and shaking
his wine glass, because that's just not my nature.
believe that we have to put in the hard work to get the job
done and that's what we are willing to do.
Where will you get the resources from to do the things that
you plan to do?
Basically the municipality will collect some user fees, etc.;
for the proposed road network there is a toll proposed for
the road coming into and out of Portmore, and hopefully, sooner
than later, we are going to have to look at this. We have
some rates; whether they are suitable or practical, we will
find out within the first year of operation. But we have to
start and when we begin the process we have to look and see
if the fees that we are going to be charging are adequate
or whether we are overcharging the people.
Hinds was formally announced as the JLP's candidate for Mayor
of Portmore on Wednesday, May 28.
Do you think that your late entry as a candidate has put you
at a disadvantage in the race for mayor? And what are your
chances of winning?
Let me correct that. People keep referring to 'late entry'
but that is a myth in the sense that if you do your research
on the ground you will realise that the name Keith Hinds has
been out there for quite a while. What we did not do is announce
the name as a candidate... and as to my chances the chances
are absolutely good.
Hinds speaks with feelings, using his hands, more often than
not, to help to emphasise his views.
sums up his philosophy of life:
are some things that I hold dearly to, some principles that
come from out of the old school. I believe that fathers, whether
they are here in Portmore or in the wider Jamaica, need to
take their responsibilities seriously. I also believe that
the home is the place where we have to start to strengthen
the country and strengthen our generation. I believe that
every Jamaican should take seriously his or her responsibility
of running this country. In other words, I urge all of us
to get off the fence and vote. We can't all vote for the JLP
and we can't all vote for the PNP, but we must exercise that
right (to vote) if we are going to build this nation. And
that is a philosophy that I am very serious about.
Hinds, a father of three boys, plays tennis and walks as exercise.
Come June 19 he plans to make a most important walk
into his own parlour that of the Mayor of the Municipality