Warmington mute as delegates stand united
BRASH JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) member Everald Warmington was yesterday soundly spurned by delegates as they embraced a resolution from Deputy General Secretary Arthur Williams paving the way for the nomination of Desmond McKenzie, Dr Christopher Tufton and Audley Shaw as deputy leaders of the party.
While the barbs from the platform were fast and furious, the strongest signal of rejection was triggered by the ringing applause of more than 4,000 delegates after Olivia 'Babsy' Grange seconded Williams' resolution that facilitated the nomination of the three men from the conference floor.
"We are going to see that this party stays together and, as a family, we will live together," declared Grange, as she addressed the delegates.
Shaw was even more strident. "The last time we started to take the party to court, we stayed out of power for 18 years, and the people of Jamaica suffered for it," he asserted.
"This kind of behaviour must not and cannot be tolerated by the JLP anymore, as it is a threat to the party as a credible government-in-waiting," said Shaw.
The Area Council Three deputy leader called for support of party leader Andrew Holness as the JLP completes its rebuilding exercise. "We must give our leader the latitude that is necessary to ensure that discipline is maintained in the JLP, and we must follow strict rules in resolving party disputes. We must put the party and country first and suppress our personal political agendas," he declared.
NOWHERE TO BE FOUND
The voice of Warmington, widely chastised in the public domain for the caustic nature of his public outbursts, was muted. A search for the controversial JLP member failed to yield result.
McKenzie refused to mince words as he hit hard at Warmington. "This is one Labourite who will never do anything or say anything to publicly discredit my party," McKenzie told the cheering delegates.
Warmington on Friday filed an application in the Supreme Court to prevent the holding of elections for three of the four deputy leaders of the JLP. He contended that the three deputy leaders were not duly nominated under the provisions of the JLP constitution as the requisite period for doing so had passed.
Warmington withdrew the application at the eleventh hour. However, he was not spared the venom of the leadership and delegates for washing the party's dirty linen in public.
James Robertson, the only deputy leader who was not named in Warmington's court application, came out swinging. "I like what I see here, I must work with my fellow deputy leaders to rebuild Bustamante's party," he declared.
For his part, Tufton, the deputy leader for Area Council Four, asserted that while it was acceptable to voice an opinion, it must be done in a way to advance the JLP.
Meanwhile, general secretary of the JLP, Aundré Franklin, absolved the candidates of blame for the breach surrounding their election.
He blamed the controversy on "glitches" in the nomination process.