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Babsy vs James 2 postponed - JLP delays internal elections until next year

Published:Sunday | November 2, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Olivia 'Babsy' Grange
James Robertson

The matchup between James Robertson and Olivia 'Babsy' Grange for the post of deputy leader of the Jamaica Labour Party's Area Council Two will not be held next month as expected.

JLP general secretary Dr Horace Chang last Friday confirmed that the election, which members of the party expected to be held on November 9, one week before the annual conference, has been postponed until next year. However, Chang said no new date has yet been set.

"We have a number of issues dealing with at this time, including a possible by-election (Central Westmoreland) and a looming local government election," Chang told The Sunday Gleaner.

"However, there is no date yet for the elections so I cannot say when that election will be held," added Chang.

He also refused to comment on whether Robertson will remain as deputy leader until the election is held.

Last week, whispers started in JLP circles that the party was afraid of the potential fallout from a contest between Robertson and Grange. Buoyed by recent public opinion polls, the leadership of the party decided that there will be no internal election until after the local government contest.


"We have a habit of kicking over the milk when we have internal contests, and with this Government performing so poorly everyone agreed that this is not time to have an election, especially considering the bitterness that spilled over when the two clashed in 2003," said one JLP source.

That 2003 contest saw Robertson defeating Grange to snatch the deputy leader post from her amid claims that "tainted money" figured in the election.

Over the past 11 years, Robertson has held on to the post, and even as his backers expressed confidence that he will stave of the 'Babsy' challenge, they are expressing concern that a move is afoot to declare the post vacant until the election is held.

"That is madness and unacceptable," said the JLP source, as he pointed to the fact that Holness remained party leader even while being challenged by Audley Shaw last year.

The source said the party's leadership has asked noted attorney and long-time JLP power broker Harold Bardy to research the constitutionality of a move to strip Robertson of the post, since he would not be confirmed as a deputy leader when the party's annual conference is held on November 16.

With Chang refusing to comment on the matter our news team sought a response from Brady. "Not one word," was his curt response.

When questioned about his reluctance to speak Brady said: "I am not even responding to that."