Wed | Nov 25, 2020

JLP feud in Guy’s Hill - Boycott of incumbent councillor could hurt Kerensia Morrison vote, say party workers

Published:Monday | August 10, 2020 | 12:09 AMRuddy Mathison/Gleaner Writer
Sharon Hyman, a member of Team Kerensia Morrison, has a friendly chat with Leroy Dunn, councillor for the Guy’s Hill division, at an Independence Day function at Gloria Bruce Multi-purpose Community Centre in Springfield, St Catherine, on August 6.
Sharon Hyman, a member of Team Kerensia Morrison, has a friendly chat with Leroy Dunn, councillor for the Guy’s Hill division, at an Independence Day function at Gloria Bruce Multi-purpose Community Centre in Springfield, St Catherine, on August 6.

An internal feud that played out in the last local government elections has caused Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters in the Guy’s Hill division of St Catherine North Eastern to draw battle lines once again.

The row is reportedly causing a bumpy landing for Senator Kerensia Morrison, who was parachuted in to replace Member of Parliament Leslie Campbell as the standard-bearer against attorney-at-law Oswest Senior-Smith of the People’s National Party (PNP).

Campbell was jettisoned in June amid soundings on the ground that he would lose the seat in the next general election.

Delegates and other party supporters are feuding over the candidacy of incumbent councillor Leroy Dunn, who replaced Winston Chambers in the last local government elections because of a split in support that eventually led to Chambers’ ouster.

Now, some senior party workers and delegates are insisting that Dunn has not lived up to their expectations and have requested that Chambers return to represent them.

LACKS LEADERSHIP

Irvin Small, a member of the JLP who has worked in various capacities in St Catherine North Eastern for more than 50 years, said that there is no way Dunn will be allowed to contest the Guy’s Hill division on the JLP ticket.

“We gave him a try and he has failed us, partly because he lacks real leadership,” Small told The Gleaner last Thursday.

“He has not done anything at all in his four years representing the division, not even a small project. The truth is, he has failed us, so we have asked the party to confirm Chambers, whom we think will do a better job for the division,” Small said.

Four other senior party functionaries in the constituency, Lovin Bryan, Venil Bryan, Stanley Francis, and Vincent Rowe, a cluster supervisor, were unified in their criticisms of the first-term councillor, declaring that he was “less than impressive”. They insisted that if the party refused to grant their wishes, that decision could impact negatively on voter turnout in the next general and local government elections.

Chambers told The Gleaner that the people are harking for his return because of Dunn’s failure to lobby on their behalf.

“The people are calling out for me, and I am prepared to provide representation for them,” said Chambers, who revealed that he has applied to represent the division once again.

He was, however, unable to give details on the status of his application.

Dunn, nevertheless, was dismissive of what he referred to as a small band of critics trying desperately to disrupt the will of the majority.

“I have the full support of the delegates and other party functionaries. Not only that, but Senator Morrison has my full support,” he said.

The incumbent councillor said that he would resist the faction of party supporters agitating for his removal.

Guy’s Hill, the largest of the three municipal divisions that form the constituency of St Catherine North Eastern, has remained a JLP stronghold for several elections.

Dunn decisively won the division in the last local government elections, garnering 63.15 per cent of the votes to the PNP’s Ryan Smith, who secured 38.85 per cent.