Hanna declines JLP call to switch
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
"COME HOME, Lisa, come home," beckoned Government Member of Parliament James Robertson to Opposition member Lisa Hanna.
Hanna, who had stood with her then husband David Panton in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) affiliate Generation 2000, joined the People's National Party in 2007.
"I did not join the Jamaica Labour Party because I had a choice. My choice is the PNP," Hanna told reporters Tuesday at the Jamaica Conference Centre, the temporary seat of the nation's Parliament.
Hanna was installed as the PNP candidate for South East St Ann by PNP president Portia Simpson Miller in 2007 after constituents had told sitting MP Aloun Assamba she was no longer welcome there.
Hanna was eventually elected MP in the general election and has risen in the party to regional chair for Region One, which comprises constituencies in St Ann and Trelawny.
On Tuesday, Hanna watched from the Opposition benches as Sharon Hay Webster packed her belongings and crossed the floor. Hay Webster had resigned as a member of the PNP in June after the party insisted that her position in parliament was untenable as a result of her dual citizenship issue.
Not long after Hay Webster settled into her new seat, Robertson, the MP for West St Thomas and a JLP deputy leader, encouraged Hanna to follow her. But she flatly rejected the offer.
"I am not interested in joining the Jamaica Labour Party. My home is the PNP and I serve under the People's National Party," Hanna told journalists.
"I don't have principles of convenience that I switch anytime I feel that it is politically expedient. This is my home. If I am ready to leave the political process, I will leave under the banner of the People's National Party," Hanna said.
strayed from core values
When Hay Webster resigned from the PNP, she said the party had deviated from its core values. Tuesday, she was singing the same song.
"Politics evolves over time, but the kind of involvement and discussion and exchange of ideas, and respect for position, I don't believe that exist anymore," she said on Tuesday.
Asked whether she still believed in the values and philosophy of the PNP, Hay Webster said: "I subscribe to being a conscientious Jamaican, committed to give service to her country courageously and in a caring manner."
And as to the philosophies of the JLP, Hay Webster said, "I am just joining the Jamaica Labour Party, give me room to become comfortable, so that I can make any criticism. I am not in a position to do that at this point."
Meanwhile, Hanna said she was baffled as to factors which led her former Comrade to switch her allegiance.