Wed | Aug 4, 2021

Letter of the Day | George Wright not a misfit as independent under the Constitution

Published:Wednesday | June 16, 2021 | 12:09 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

All who study the Constitution of Jamaica will note that it does not recognise any political party; it recognises members of parliament and their respective constituencies.

In fact, in our first election in Jamaica under Adult Suffrage (December 12, 1944), five independent candidates won their seats and sat in Parliament equally with those who ran on the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) ticket, and the People’s National Party (PNP) tickets. It was the JLP that formed the then Government.

The independent MPs were Enos Phillip Reynolds, representing Clarendon North West; Fred L.B. Evans, Westmoreland Eastern; H.E. Allan, Portland Eastern; Joseph Z. Malcolm, Hanover Eastern; and William M. Dickson, Hanover Western.

Westmoreland Central MP George Wright sitting in Parliament as an independent member of the Lower House will not be a misfit, but will be fully in line under the Constitution of Jamaica.

Mr Wright has made it clear that he will not bow to pressure mounted against him, demanding his resignation from the Parliament of Jamaica on allegations that he may be the person in that infamous video viciously beating a woman. I suspect that his strength is deeply rooted in the fact that people who support him are not making such a call.

Westmoreland Central was once a most loyal PNP seat. Since 1944, the constituency has voted JLP only twice – 1980, when there was a national swing from the PNP under the late Prime Minister Michael Manley because of fear of Jamaica becoming a communist state; and last year’s election, when Wright shocked both the JLP and the PNP by winning the seat.

The PNP lost the seat because of three main reasons:

1) People were unhappy with the PNP because they have been “taken for granted over the years”, as well as no development, so many did not go out to vote or voted for George Wright to send the PNP a message.

2) Wright won the confidence of a number of first-time voters, and was fully in charge of the grass-root voters.

3) The Andrew Holness factor. Many people switch allegiance because “Andrew remind me of Michael Manley”; “He is doing a good job”; “I am trying Andrew”.

I think, under the circumstance, enough punishment has been given to the Westmoreland Central MP. I do not believe in judgement without mercy; I believe in giving a second chance.

DR JOHN D. KELLY