Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter
AS SENIOR members of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) prepare to do battle in the upcoming internal election of officers, The Gleaner has learned that General Secretary Aundre Franklin will not be seeking re-election in that capacity.
Reliable sources inside the party told The Gleaner yesterday that Franklin has set his eyes on becoming the deputy chairman of the party.
When The Gleaner contacted Franklin, he was not willing to offer a comment on the new development.
To date, former executive director of the National Solid Waste Management Authority Joan Gordon Webley and Member of Parliament for St James, North West Dr Horace Chang have signalled an interest in the post of general secretary.
Yesterday, Gordon Webley told The Gleaner there was the need to fill a void in the party, noting that the JLP was badly beaten in the December 2011 general election.
Disconnect with base support
She noted that many supporters had expressed the view that the party had moved away from its base support, resulting in what she described as a "disconnect".
"I believe that I am the kind of person that can do the welding, so to speak. We need to get back to basics, we need to get back to the people at the base and that is my single most important reason to try and fill that void and let the party supporters understand that without them there is no Labour party," Gordon Webley said.
Noting that the post of general secretary was a "full-time job", Gordon Webley told The Gleaner she was ready to commit quality time on the job.
"I reside in Kingston and I am prepared to take up full-time offices within our party office and I am prepared to do the job. I know that I am going to be an excellent general secretary for the Jamaica Labour Party," Gordon Webley declared.
"I know that I will bring not just passion, but compassion to the job."
Attempts to get a comment from Dr Chang were unsuccessful as his phone rang without an answer.
The JLP will elect a new central executive after its scaled down annual conference in November.
A number of positions will be up for grabs including chairman, deputy chairman, general secretary, deputy general secretaries, treasurer and deputy treasurer.