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JLP delegates vote in selection contests

Published:Friday | September 25, 2015 | 1:13 PMGary Spaulding

THE JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) will today seek to bring the curtain down on the selection exercise in its pair of contentious constituencies.

Gregory Mair's replacement as the standard-bearer for the JLP in North East St Catherine should be known today, as well as that of Dr Ken Baugh in West Central St Catherine.

The proposed retirement of veteran parliamentarian and former government minister Dr Ken Baugh in two JLP administrations has paved the way for a contest between former parliamentarian Dr Chris-topher Tufton and councillor for the Point Hill Division in the constituency, Devon Wint.

A series of confrontations in the constituency has forced repeated postponements of the selection contest in the past.

Tufton, a current senator, is seeking to resurrect his career in representational politics after his narrow loss to the People's National Party's Hugh Buchanan in the December 2011 general election.

Hay-Webster, a former three-term South West St Catherine member of parliament, is up against the JLP's deputy Treasurer, attorney-at-law Leslie Campbell.

Mair, a two-term member of parliament for North East St Catherine resigned a month ago, paving the way for the contest, but even before Mair threw in the towel, there were signs of trouble hovering in the constituency.

It all started when Hay-Webster signalled that she was interested in the seat. This elicited loud protestations from Mair, but the issue did not end when the member of parliament sent his resignation letter to the Dr Horace Chang-led JLP secretariat.

Hay-Webster was joined by Campbell and Dr Lennon Richardson, a former two-time candidate for the JLP who has expressed an interest in running on the JLP's ticket.

marred by controversy

Since then, Richardson has backed out, leaving the delegates of North East St Catherine to choose between Hay-Webster and Campbell.

Hay-Webster was a member of the House of Representatives between 1997 and 2012, representing the People's National Party (PNP).

The former MP's third term in Parliament was marred by a controversy over her citizenship in the United States, leading her to announce in 2009 that she would renounce her US citizenship; however, in 2011, it came to light that she had withdrawn her application for renunciation, meaning she remained a US citizen.

As the ongoing controversy heated up, Hay-Webster resigned from the PNP, and her former party called for her to step down from her parliamentary seat as well.

Hay-Webster joined the JLP in November 2011 before losing her seat in Parliament in the 2011 general election.