Gareth Davis Sr, Gleaner Writer
Fair Prospect, Portland:
A senior political figure in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has hinted that large sums of cash are being expended by persons of enormous wealth and power in order to influence the outcome of the party's leadership election.
The pronouncement came from veteran politician and former Minister of National Security Derrick Smith, during a delegates meeting at Fair Prospect in East Portland last Friday night.
"Vote buying has, once again, resurfaced," Smith claimed.
He added: "I have won seven consecutive elections, and there are only two occasions that I am aware of when enormous amount of money was pumped in - trying to interfere with the JLP and its outcome as it relates to candidacy. And this makes it the third time that I am witnessing big money being pumped into the JLP to … predict the outcome of JLP matters."
According to Smith, persons with money are seeking to lay claim and control party aspirants, but that party leader Andrew Holness was not for sale.
Smith is a staunch supporter of the JLP leader, and only recently resigned his post as a member of the JLP election commission to join Holness' campaign.
The veteran politician also urged delegates not to fall prey to voter-buying tactics, saying they should instead allow their conscience to lead them in a transparent manner.
Less than two weeks ago, during a delegates meeting in West Portland, Holness' challenger, Audley Shaw, scoffed at comments made by Holness' campaign team that big money was being spent in his campaign.
At that time, Shaw declared that some private-sector entities were relying on him to rescue the country and the JLP from the mismanage-ment of the People's National Party-led Government, and that a campaign could not be run on breeze.
Continuing, Smith declared: "This leadership challenge will set the record straight once and for all. Holness is the right choice for this noble party, which is seeking to transform the old style of politics."