JLP selects young faces - Eight first-timers selected to run on party's ticket in next general election
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
EIGHTY PER cent of persons so far selected as candidates to represent the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the next general election, due by December 2016, will be first-timers.
Following yesterday's meeting of the party's Central Executive, the highest decision-making body outside of its annual conference, the candidacy of seven persons for general election was approved, adding to three previous selections.
Among the list of selectees are Floyd Green, president of Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional arm of the JLP, and his predecessor, Delano Seiveright.
Green is to replace Dr Christopher Tufton in South Western St Elizabeth, while Seiveright is to be the party's standard-bearer in Eastern St Thomas.
"The party is growing and is attracting competent new blood," General Secretary Dr Horace Chang told The Gleaner.
He said the rise of Green and Seiveright from G2K is indicative of "the strength of our youth operation and that we have been focusing on quality succession planning".
But while eight of 10 persons selected thus far as parliamentary candidates are first-timers, the JLP has given the nod to two former members of parliament (MPs) to make their way to the warm-up area. Dr St Aubyn Bartlett and Ernest Smith have been selected as candidates for Central Manchester and Northern Trelawny, respectively.
Bartlett, a two-time MP in Eastern St Andrew, was pulled from the party's ticket and replaced with Dr Saphire Longmore in the 2011 general election. Longmore lost the seat by 254 votes to the People's National Party's (PNP) André Hylton.
Meanwhile, Smith, who has contested six general elections, winning two, made the switch to Northern Trelawny after losing his seat in the last poll to the PNP's Keith Walford. The departure of Smith has paved the way for Xavier Mayne as the party's next parliamentary candidate in South Western St Ann.
MALAHOO FORTE REPLACED
The JLP's Central Executive had already selected Fay Jacobs as its candidate for Central Westmoreland, a seat held by the PNP since 1989. The sitting MP, Roger Clarke, defeated first-timer Marlene Malahoo Forte by 3,042 votes in the last election.
In another seat considered to be a bedrock for the PNP, North Eastern St Elizabeth, Kirk Rodney replaces Corris Samuels as the JLP's candidate, while Casull Pinnock is to run in the marginal Northern Clarendon, which is now represented by Horace Dalley.
The Reverend Dwight Pecoo is to run in the newly created Eastern St Catherine. Former PNP MP Sharon Hay-Webster had unsuccessfully contested the seat for the JLP against Denise Daley in 2011.
Darron Woods has been selected to run in Eastern Portland.
The JLP currently has 21 of the 63 MPs in the House of Representatives, only two of whom were being elected for the first time in 2011. Among the 21 are the ageing Mike Henry and Pearnel Charles, both of whom are more than 75 years old.
Chang, when asked whether some sitting MPs will be making way for more young blood, said the constituencies which are represented by the JLP in Parliament have excellent organisation and thus there is no need to focus on those at the moment.
He said, however, that he has heard talks that some persons may call it a day at the end of the life of this Parliament.
"We have not confirmed resignations, although there are talks. You don't need to do that with good organisation in place," Chang said.