Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
The threat of a challenge to the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Area Council Two meeting fizzled yesterday at Elthan High School, despite strong claims that James Robertson and Everald Warmington would be challenged as deputy leader and chairman.
However, delegates still have another opportunity on October 14 to make such a challenge before the November annual conference, and party sources say the challenged threat fell apart because the media got wind of it.
Robertson said any news of a challenge to the leadership of the Area Council was because someone was trying to make trouble.
"The Area Council is at its most united. Why would anyone consider challenging anyone at this time? Furthermore, there are bigger challenges facing the party and country for us to be challenging each other," he told The Gleaner yesterday.
The Gleaner learnt by way of sources that Robertson and Warmington would be challenged by Olivia 'Babsy' Grange and Dr Andrew Wheatley, respectively. Wheatley is currently in Sri Lanka, The Gleaner was told. Grange laughed when The Gleaner asked about a possible challenge from her, asking: "Why would I want to challenge James?"
However, a delegate told the meeting that the challenge would have been effected as the majority of the delegates were from her Central St Catherine constituency.
Still Robertson appeared to be unconcerned.
Warmington, during his opening remarks, said in the future no observers would be allowed and delegates-only meetings would be effected. Delegates eligible to attend the meeting are from Portland, St Thomas, St Mary and St Catherine.
Noticeable absentee members of parliament (MP) were Daryl Vaz (West Portland) and Gregory Mair (St Catherine North East), and it was not clear if apologies were tendered on their behalf.
Meanwhile, Robert Montague, former MP and minister of agriculture and current acting chairman, said the party should concentrate its efforts on "organising" as it was the only way the JLP would return to power.
"Organise, organise, organise. That is how we are going to remove the PNP from power," he told the delegates.
According to him, the Government was in trouble, as its promise of job creation had fallen flat. He said he would like the PNP government to provide 80,000 jobs, and not the 30,000 they said would be provided under JEEP.
In his presentation, Robertson gave an account of his stewardship of the Area Council, saying it was the strongest of all four in the JLP.
Earlier, a shouting match between Warmington and a delegate forced members of the constabulary to show their presence closer to the floor of the school, nipping any threat of violence in the bud.