JLP supporters lash MP Tufton over removal of councillor as party rep
Several supporters of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the West Central St Catherine constituency have lashed Member of Parliament Dr Christopher Tufton over the removal of a sitting councillor as the party's representative for upcoming local polls.
"If Councillor [Keith] McCook has to go then member of parliament Christopher Tufton has to go also because he disrespected us by deciding to get rid of councillor McCook without consulting us," said an irate supporter who participated in a protest in the constituency today. She did not want to be named.
McCook represents the Red Hills division in the St Catherine Municipal Corporation.
Telephone calls to Tufton, who is also the Minister of Health and Wellness, went unanswered.
McCook, who has represented the JLP since 2012, is not among the nine councillors or councillor-candidates approved by the governing party in its Area Council Two, chairman Everald Warmington disclosed over a week ago. He will be replaced by Michael Archer, CEO of Archer's Funeral Home in St Catherine.
“His performance was below standard. We did a poll in that division and Mr McCook enjoyed the support of only 25 per cent of JLP support,” Warmington told The Gleaner last month.
However the demonstrators insisted that the party acted without any consultation or consideration for the opinions of the division's supporters and delegates.
McCook's response to the protest was clear, when contacted.
"The people have a right to make their own decision as to who they want to represent them, and it is unconstitutional to replace a sitting councillor and put in place a caretaker councillor while he is still serving. I have served them well for the eleven years and I had no intention of resigning," he said.
McCook revealed that tensions had been simmering for four years, stemming from what he said has been his refusal to be a 'yes-man' to Tufton.
He did not say whether he would challenge the party's decision.
The next local government elections are due by February next year.
- Ruddy Mathison
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