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JLP supporters gather as leadership challenge heats up

Published:Sunday | August 25, 2013 | 12:33 PM

Supporters of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)are gathering at the Edwin Allen High School in Frankfield, Clarendon where deputy leader, Audley Shaw, is expected to announce his intention to challenge for the leadership of the party.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 11:00 this morning, but was just getting underway at news time.

Shaw, who yesterday revealed his intention to challenge Holness in a letter to party chairman, Robert Montague, says he has also informed the leader, Andrew Holness, of his plan.

Meanwhile, Holness is to meet with supporters and party workers in South Central St Catherine at 4:00 this afternoon.

The meeting comes a day after Shaw’s announcement that he is seriously considering challenging Holness for the leadership of the party.

However, a spokesperson for the South Central St Catherine constituency, Member of Parliament Dr Andrew Wheathley, says the meeting is not related to yesterday’s announcement.

According to the spokesperson, today’s meeting was planned long in advance to discuss some of the challenges facing residents of the constituency.

The issues include the high unemployment rate, which has shot up to 16.5 per cent, and the impact of the recent bus fare increase as well as escalating criminal activities.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at Dr Wheatley’s constituency office in Spanish Town.

Political watchers say they are not surprised by Shaw’s decision challenge to Holness at this time.

Talk show host and University of the West Indies (UWI) lecturer, Richard “Dickie” Crawford, says many factions within the party are displeased with Holness’ performance and are prepared to have a leadership challenge now in order to give the party time to adapt to the changes. General Elections are constitutionally due in 2016.

However, political analyst Kevin O' Brien Chang says it is difficult at this time to know who will emerge victorious at the JLP conference in November, as the country has no idea how supporters feel about the process at this time.

He says a leadership race will be good for the JLP and the country.


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