JLP councillor crosses floor in St James Parish Council, surprises party
Richard Solomone, the councillor for the Spring Gardens division in West Central St James has resigned as a member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and has crossed the floor in the St James Parish Council.
In a statement this afternoon, Solomone said he is now seeking membership in the People’s National Party (PNP).
The development comes weeks after the JLP rejected Solomone as its replacement in West Central St James for the upcoming general election.
Instead, the party has chosen Marlene Malahoo Forte.
J.C Hutchinson, the JLP deputy leader for Area Council Four says he was not surprised by Solomone's decision to resign from the party but that he was taken a back by his move to join the PNP.
"I know he was peeved because he did not get the nod for the constituency but I did not expect him to cross the floor because I know him as a staunch Labourite," said Hutchinson.
Solomone's decision to cross the floor means that there are now only three JLP councillors in the St James Parish Council and 14 on the PNP benches.
According to Solomone, he made the decision after reflection and careful consideration.
"At the heart of this announcement was the comfort level of my family, friends and key constituents in the parochial division of Spring Gardens in West Central St James that I have represented since 2003," Solomone said.
He also said he had no doubt that his constituents will realise greater benefits from this move.
"I will continue to pride myself with decorum and professionalism," Solomone said.
Spring Gardens is considered a traditional JLP seat.
In the 2011 general elections, Clive Mullings got 2,485 votes in the division to the PNP's Sharon Ffolkes Abrahams' 2,047.
In the 2012 Local Government Election, the JLP won the Spring Gardens Division with 1,334 votes to the PNP's 1,196.
Some 29 per cent of the 8,736 electors in the division voted in that election.