JLP switches focus to chairman race
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
With the Standing Committee of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) finally deciding to ratify the resolution moved by Deputy General Arthur Williams that installed Desmond McKenzie, Audley Shaw and Dr Christopher Tufton as deputy leaders of Area Councils One, Three and Four, respectively, attention is now turning to the elections of other senior officers which is scheduled for the next Central Executive meeting.
Midnight (tonight) is the deadline for the nomination of the party's chairman general secretary and four vice-presidents as well as several key positions in the Central Executive at its first meeting since the annual conference. The meeting is scheduled for December 2.
But while a media blackout has been issued on the campaigners, The Gleaner understands that the party is now moving to ensure it avoids the problems it experienced with the nominations for deputy leader, which propelled the party precipitously close to a court battle.
The likely contenders for chairman are two veterans in the JLP - Edmund Bartlett and Derrick Smith - along with acting Chairman Robert Montague. Dr Horace Chang and Joan Gordon-Webley are expected to be the only candidates for the post of general secretary.
Karl Samuda, who had earlier expressed an interest in the position, has pulled out of the race, saying he is not interested in a contest for office at this stage of his political life.
"I am not competing for any office at this time," he told The Gleaner.
He added: "If the leader requests my service at any level, I will certainly comply but I will not compete with a single solitary person. My time has passed for these things and I have done my apprenticeship."
Holness fashions team
In the meantime, there is a suggestion that JLP Leader Andrew Holness is desirous of fashioning his senior team with a mix of his generation and the experience of the generation before it.
"Persons of his generation would at this stage be better off securing a blanket of credibility by ensuring that they have a sound constituency base which is the hallmark of a credible politician as positions in the party hierarchy provide no credibility for any political aspirant," a JLP stalwart argued.
The well-placed source in the leadership of the JLP, who asked that he not be named, said having stamped his authority at Sunday's annual conference, Holness would now be moving to demonstrate that he not only occupies the post of leader but now has its authority.
"You can have position, but not authority. Sunday demonstrated otherwise," the JLP stalwart said. "In that sense, Holness must listen to the delegates."
He added: "We look forward to see Mr Holness' team as he moves to carry out his mandate of changing the environment from a politics of poverty to a politics of wealth creation."