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Battle lines drawn in Mobay chamber's presidential race

Published:Monday | April 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMMark Titus

Western Bureau:

The upcoming elections for the presidency of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) is poised to be a contentious affair as battle lines have been drawn between the supporters of incumbent president Gloria Henry and her challenger, T'shura Gibbs.

The situation took an ugly twist with a series of emails questioning the qualification of Gibbs, a top executive of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS) in western Jamaica. Several influential members of the organisation have, reportedly, taken issue with the emails.

"Several persons have brought to the fore and questioned the appropriateness of having a JPS representative becoming a president of the chamber of commerce," stated one of the emails from an influential board member of the MBCCI. "This, as the JPS doesn't just represent a sector of our society, but the entire nation," the email read.

"Policy or management decisions taken by JPS affects not just some persons, but all. How would a chamber, led by the JPS representative, challenge or speak out against the JPS policy or management decision?" the email questioned.

Gibbs, who is expected to be nominated from the floor at the upcoming annual general meeting, advised Henry and the directors of her intention to challenge for the leadership via email after getting the blessing of her boss, Kelly Tomblin, the chief executive officer (CEO) and president of the JPS, several days after the board had nominated the incumbent to serve a third term.

Several members of the MBCCI have argued that similar concerns could be raised about Henry, who is the assistant vice-president of operations and customer relations at the Port Authority of Jamaica in charge of the Montego Bay Free Zone, which makes her a government employee.