Trouble brewing in the JLP - Holness wary of releasing findings of panel which reviewed party's operation

Published: Sunday | February 24, 2013 Comments 0
Jamaica Labour Party leader Andrew Holness (centre) flanked by the party's chairman, Robert Montague (left), and general secretary, Dr Horace Chang, during a recent media briefing. - File
Jamaica Labour Party leader Andrew Holness (centre) flanked by the party's chairman, Robert Montague (left), and general secretary, Dr Horace Chang, during a recent media briefing. - File

Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) leader Andrew Holness is facing a possible revolt as Labourites protest against his decision not to release, in full, the findings of a special committee set up to conduct a review of the party following its blowout defeats in the 2011 and 2012 elections.

The Sunday Gleaner has confirmed that several senior JLP members are upset after Holness attended a recent retreat of the party's Standing Committee and declared that he would not release the full report.

"Andrew told members of the Standing Committee that he has an interim report, but it would not be discussed among the general membership," one obviously upset senior party member told The Sunday Gleaner.

The JLP member said Holness indicated that a "sanitised version" of the report would be presented to the party, beginning with the officers, members of the Standing Committee and members of the Central Executive.

However, persons in the party close to Holness claimed that a decision to release portions of the report was made by the Standing Committee.

The Holness backers say the Standing Committee was asked to decide if the report should be made available to the general public through the media.

According to the Holness supporters, some members of the Standing Committee argued that the report should be withheld, while others suggested openness.

"There was full discussion on the content of the report and the issue of whether it should be public. Some have expressed fear that the content may damage the party, while there are others with more progressive thinking who have argued that it should be made public," said the Holness backer.

But this has been challenged by another senior member of the party.

He said most Standing Committee members felt uncomfortable discussing the options as they did not want to speak out of context.

"You cannot run a party where the leader is looking over his shoulders 50 per cent of the time, and for the other 50 per cent, he is on some handheld gadget when he is in meetings," charged the source.

Late last week, persons close to Holness claimed that there was nothing sinister in his decision not to release the report in its entirety.

"There is nothing in the report casting blame on any particular individual or any specific thing," said one person believed to be inside the party's leadership inner circle.

The three-member committee was led by Professor Bernard Headley and included Senator Kamina Johnson-Smith and communication consultant Marcia Forbes.

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