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Eighth JLP senator to be named by month end

Published:Tuesday | April 17, 2012 | 12:00 AM

The long wait for the eighth Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) senator will be over by the end of April.

During a press conference yesterday at the party's Belmont Road headquarters, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness told journalists that the seeming delay was not because the party was unable to find a suitably qualified individual.

Instead, it was to give the individual the requisite time to reflect and make his or her decision.

Months of speculation

The pending announcement will bring an end to months of speculation about the party's failure to fill its complement of senators.

"I want to make those persons, that are options, give them enough time to make their decisions, to accept. Now I do not intend to drag this on past the end of April. So at the end of April, I will make my decision," Holness said in response to journalists.

The JLP leader rejected criticisms of the delay, saying there was precedence for the decision.

"Let me address the issue, and it comes up again and again. In 1980, when the then Prime Minister Edward Seaga took office he waited for six months before appointing one of his senators. On another occasion the entire Senate was delayed in its appointment. Now, people would want me to exercise my discretion right away, and put in place the eighth senator," Holness argued.

"There are some things that I have to balance in the exercise of that discretion. The first thing is I would want to invite someone to the Senate who would represent a particular sector. The senators that I have appointed so far are all persons who come from within the political party. I would certainly want to leave space within the Opposition for someone either from civil society or business."