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JLP's Smith, Newby face-off in candidacy contest for Alexandria Division

Published:Sunday | January 29, 2012 | 1:43 PM

A spat is developing between a former senator and a former member of parliament of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) as the two jostle to represent the Alexandria division in the upcoming local government election.

Local government election is due in March of this year.

Ernest Smith, an attorney at law and the former Member of Parliament for South West St Ann, confirmed that he has applied to the JLP to run as its candidate in the upcoming local government polls.

But the former senator and junior minister in the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Sports, Warren Newby has said he is also considering applying for candidacy.

Mr Smith claims Mr Newby, who is the constituency chairman, has been undermining his candidacy in South West St Ann over the past three years.

He claims that the former senator has been anxious to replace him in the constituency and has been teaming with other party members and well-known JLP personalities in the constituency to weaken his candidacy.

Mr Smith claims further that some persons with whom Mr Newby has collaborated, expressed a desire to disrupt the JLP’s organisation in the constituency during a meeting last November, in an effort to promote Mr Newby’s candidature.

He alleges that Mr Newby has similarly tried to undermine the campaign of other members of parliament during the run up to the December 29 general election in which the JLP was embarrassingly defeated by the PNP.

Mr Smith says he has made a complaint to the party’s executive about Mr Newby’s behaviour, but Mr Newby’s team has been fervent in their efforts to promote his interests.

However, Mr Newby has dismissed Mr Smith’s claims that his ambition to run in the upcoming local government polls is meant to undermine him.

He says he will be seeking audience with Mr Smith to work through the issues.