JLP doors open to Hay-Webster
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
THE JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) said its doors are open to Sharon Hay-Webster, who resigned as a member of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) on Tuesday, amid questions of her legitimacy to sit in the House of Representatives.
The South Central St Catherine MP said she will sit as an independent member. She also noted that she was not opposed to crossing the floor.
"Sharon Hay-Webster, like any Jamaican who wishes to have dialogue with the JLP about any matter, the doors of the party are open for such discussions with any matter, but the principles of the JLP will not be held hostage to any negotiations," General Secretary Aundre Franklin said.
The JLP's Devon McDaniel, who Hay-Webster beat for the seat in the 2007 general elections, is seeking to have her booted from Parliament. He alleged that she is in breach of the constitution and is not qualified to sit in the House.
On Tuesday, Hay-Webster maintained that despite being born in the United States (US), she has never pledged allegiance to that country. She has also accused the PNP of attempting to push her out of Parliament, and not according her due process.
She said various legal advice suggested she was properly nominated to be elected to Parliament in 2007, and that her dual-citizenship case was different from those ruled on by the courts.
Under the Constitution, no person who, by his/her own act, is under an acknowledgement of allegiance to a foreign power, can serve as a parliamentarian.
The PNP, though, left little doubt that The Gleaner's revelation, through whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, of a US diplomatic cable last month, which alleged Hay-Webster withdrew her renunciation letter, but left the impression that she had given up her US citizenship - had caused the party to come down hard on her.
"The party came to the conclusion that Mrs Hay-Webster's tenure as a member of parliament was untenable and, as such, discussions were focused on and centred around her resignation as a member of parliament," the PNP said in a statement.