Krystal Tomlinson’s political career started at the University of the West Indies. She served as vice president for the Guild Special Services Project portfolio. Her role was to distribute grants to students who were less fortunate.
“A lot of the lessons I learnt about the kind of politician I wanted to be, and the kind of politician I did not want to be actually came through the Guild of students,” she told BUZZ.
In her bid for presidency of the Guild, Tomlinson campaigned on the ambitious goal of convincing students to reallocate some of the funds used for the popular Integration Thursdays party series into the grant fund for less fortunate students.
She didn’t win, but her acumen for politics was developing.
“You got to interact with the best and worst personalities, you learnt what projects to invest in. and how you communicate change in spaces where people were not ready to talk about it,”
It is this desire to implement change that saw her continuing in politics. And now as the People National Party (PNP) caretaker for the West Rural St Andrew constituency, Tomlinson is determined to bring forth change.
She envisions a West Rural St Andrew that has proper infrastructure, and where the residents have created a sustainable economic zone.
“For a constituency of almost 40,000 persons, we only have two high schools,” she said.
“Young people are starved for opportunity here. You’ll find a lot of young men and women still in the community, not attending school, and not working. And its not because they don’t have ambition, but they don’t have the opportunities that they need to expand, whether from skills training, jobs, inside the community,” she added.
And while she told BUZZ that she also intends to address the immediate needs of the residents of West Rural St Andrew, she is equally focused on creating sustainable development in the constituency.
“Yes, you ago fix the road, but you’re fixing a road that leads to what? The road must lead to a factory, it cya just lead further and further up inna the bush,” she said.
She said she intends to take advantage of the constituency’s most valued, but underutilized crop-coffee to change the economy of West Rural St Andrew.
“We want to build industries in these rural communities that allow them to create value added from the products. If you can’t sell a box of coffee can you sell a case of coffee scented lotion, or body wash? So people can continue to earn here, and don’t have to export their labour into Kingston or overseas,” she said.
Tomlinson believes she has what it takes to make this happen. “What it requires is coordination of resources, and as a member of parliament, you have access to all those resources. You can get it to the right boardroom talk to investors and draw down the funding, and connect people to the money that is out there,” she said.
But first she is concentrating on winning the seat for the PNP. “To ensure that the PNP is atleast one up in parliament so that we can form government again, so that a PNP lead government can implement the kind of changes that are required to transform Jamaica,” she said.