Andrew Holness did not resort to his Facebook account to appeal for support for his leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) merely on rumour. At least, we don't believe he would.
Even if it doesn't materialise at the JLP's annual conference in November, Mr Holness has credible intelligence, we believe, of a group contemplating a challenge for his job, with their preferred candidate being Audley Shaw, the shadow finance minister.
We do not believe the suggestion by the party's general secretary, Dr Horace Chang, that the issue of the JLP's leadership wasn't the subject of a harsh quarrel at the party's weekly Standing Committee meeting on Monday.
We do not believe that any such contestation would be bad. Indeed, as a democratic institution, the JLP should be able to accommodate, and maturely resolve, the aspiration of any member for the top, or any, office. In democratic organisations, such matters are normally settled by a vote - usually peacefully.
Political parties then, hopefully, heal and their members soon rally behind the elected leader. This has not been the tradition of the JLP in the years subsequent to the leadership of its founder, Sir Alexander Bustamante. Quarrels linger and the leader has to focus on protecting his flanks rather than the substance of leadership.
The foregoing, and Mr Holness' concerns as expressed in his Facebook post notwithstanding, we believe that an internal election at this time would probably be good for the JLP. And preferably now rather than later, closer to a general election, when the party will be inclined to attempt to paper over fundamental differences.
In retrospect, the absence of a vote when Mr Holness assumed the JLP leadership two years ago at the resignation of Bruce Golding was, perhaps, a mistake. His elevation by consensus, on the basis of perceived voter preference, robbed Mr Holness of the kind of legitimacy that is derived only from the ballot box.
Some of those who surrendered their ambitions to the Holness wave may regret the decision, with the JLP having lost the general election with Mr Holness at the helm and now that he is being branded by some in the party as weak and indecisive.
Not robust enough
Mr Holness, despite his declared intent of transforming the JLP from being a leader-centric to a more consensual institution, has, so far, been unable to infuse his vision on the JLP. Our sense is that he has not been robust enough in marketing that vision. Nor has he articulated his ideas with the necessary clarity. Further, while the JLP has reacted to perceived policy failures by the Government, it has offered little by way of policy formulation or strategic ideas.
Put another way, Mr Holness has not yet made a clear case for why the JLP should form the Government and he should be prime minister, other than, perhaps, that he would like the job
That is part of the backdrop to which some in the JLP hanker for an Audley Shaw, who exudes the attributes of the traditional leader: assured, self-confident, loud with good turns of phrase, charismatic, seeming to know what he wants and willing to take risks. There may be questions of whether that is what is good for a broader JLP and Jamaica.
Internally, the party must quickly resolve the question so that it can get on with the more important matter: Jamaica's business.
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