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Booted - JLP drops Devon Wint as candidate for West Central St Catherine

Published:Thursday | November 12, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding

The constituency of West Central St Catherine has once again been rocked by turmoil as the leadership of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) was forced last night to scratch a resisting Devon Wint from the slate of candidates after a meeting at the party's Belmont Road headquarters in New Kingston late yesterday.

For some in the JLP, this serves as a lifeline for former South West St Elizabeth Member of Parliament Dr Christopher Tufton, who has been scrambling without success for a seat to represent the party.

Party insiders told The Gleaner last night that the senior party members were troubled that Wint had initially rejected an overture by the JLP leadership when he was asked to quietly step aside voluntarily.

It is understood that Wint rejected the suggestions as disturbing allegations against him raged in the already tumultuous West Central St Catherine constituency.

"He is claiming that he is innocent, so there is no need for him to resign, but there was no consideration for the greater good of the party," complained an irate member of the party.

The news has surfaced as the well-respected member of parliament for West Central St Catherine struggles with health challenges that have the party concerned.

In stark contrast to the calming influence of Baugh, the constituency has been plunged into mayhem since Tufton, a former deputy leader, exhibited an interest in the seat.

Several protests, including the burning of JLP T-shirts, marred the usually smooth flow of the JLP stronghold, which has been held by Baugh for the past three electoral terms as Wint's supporters rejected Tufton as an outsider.

The situation in the constituency had rumbled out of control for weeks before the holding of a selection conference.

The untenable situation forced the Dr Horace Chang-led JLP Secretariat to delay the holding of a selection conference.

When the conference was eventually held in September, Tufton, despite his enviable national profile, was rejected as the delegates of West Central St Catherine gave Wint the nod.

In a close selection contest, Tufton polled 196 votes to lose by 15 votes to Wint, the councillor of the Point Hill division, who received 211 votes.

But even with Wint out, The Gleaner was told that some supporters have remained adamant that they do not want Tufton, who lost the South West St Elizabeth seat by a mere 13 votes to the People's National Party's Hugh Buchanan.