Outgoing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Chairman Mike Henry has emotionally insisted that his absence from Sunday's annual conference was not out of malice or disrespect to the leadership of the party.
But even as he maintained that he remained faithful to the JLP, Henry yesterday intimated that he was being slighted and appealed for understanding.
Asked about his future, the member of parliament (MP) for Central Clarendon questioned the effectiveness of his continued service to the party that he holds dear, noting his detractors continually refer to his age.
However, he stressed that he would not boycott his first love at this time, if he is permitted by the people of Central Clarendon.
"I am sitting as a JLP MP. I have never left the party and I don't intend to leave the party," he asserted.
Henry told The Gleaner that his absence was in solidarity with the constituents of the Central Clarendon constituency he represents. He said requests contained in letters dispatched to the Secretariat to meet and hammer out unresolved issues with constituents have been ignored.
Lamenting that he did not seem to come over well in many ways to Jamaicans, Henry said: "I am really trying … ask the general secretary (Aundré Franklin) if he has a chairman's report."
Calls for understanding
He appealed for understanding from the party as well as the wider populace as he pointed out that he had submitted the chairman's report despite the fact that he had taken leave for more than nine months.
"I want no one to believe that with all my record of service to the JLP, I am being mischievous," Henry told The Gleaner. "The country is in too much of a (bad) state after 20 years of non-growth for us to play political games … . The country should be the focus now, not individualistic positions," he asserted.
Added Henry: "My life and career are too important to me, having sacrificed my business and my children to leave any of these things lightly … . My principles don't change for power and glory."
Henry acknowledged that he had paid a price for being independent of thought, but stressed that he was in no way attacking his party.
"I am the first campaigning politician to be shot. I didn't leave and join anywhere else and I don't intend to leave the JLP," he declared.