Joan to fight Andrew for PNP?
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Veteran politician Joan Gordon-Webley appears to be inching towards challenging Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Leader Andrew Holness for the West Central St Andrew seat he has held since 1997.
Highly placed sources revealed to The Gleaner that Gordon-Webley has been engaged in active discussions with the People's National Party (PNP) for membership, through which she is expected to renew her battle against Holness.
When contacted by The Gleaner, an evasive PNP Chairman Robert Pickersgill directed the newspaper to the party's new general secretary, Paul Burke.
Burke's response was just as terse.
"I don't know what you are talking about," he said.
When pressed, Burke added: "I still don't know what you are talking about."
Gordon-Webley said she has not formally applied to the PNP but declined to elaborate, saying she was too busy to talk.
"I have to run, as I am doing something urgent for some needy persons," she told The Gleaner.
However, a source within the PNP hierarchy said talks among the leadership of the party "at the highest level" are on in earnest.
A well-placed PNP insider revealed that some within the organisation are of the view that Gordon-Webley, who lost narrowly to Damion Crawford in East Rural St Andrew, could have turned the tables at the next general election had she not been replaced by the leadership of the JLP.
The Gleaner understands that Gordon Webley's acceptance into the PNP has been greeted with mixed reactions.
While those likely to embrace her point to her work ethic at the constituency level, others are unforgiving of past run-ins with the controversial politician who also fell out with former JLP Leader Edward Seaga in the 1990s and defected with then JLP Chairman Bruce Golding to form the National Democratic Movement in 1995.
The JLP leadership has installed former journalist Robert Nesta Morgan to replace Gordon-Webley in the constituency where she started her run in representational politics in 1980.
Morgan was on Sunday among the slate of intended new candidates being prepared to run on the JLP ticket in the next general election.
They met with JLP Chairman Robert Montague, General Secretary Dr Horace Chang and veteran politician Karl Samuda at the party's Belmont Road headquarters in St Andrew.
Party insiders say Gordon-Webley, a vocal supporter of Audley Shaw in his unsuccessful JLP leadership challenge last year, has been expressing that there is no future for her in the party she has served for more than four decades.