No sooner that I posted part one of this series a couple days ago in response to requests for a corresponding set of entries when the Jamaica Labour Party, JLP was in power and the elections were called in 2011 more controversial developments have occurred within the last days in the People’s National Party camp. I had intended to have part two address more on the Raymond Pryce factor in the sense of his more sensible comments on the Buggery law, his leading the marijuana bill in the house and his disturbing comments that NGOs should be made to legally declare their source of funding as he said he was concerned. Mr Pryce needs to be reminded that prior to his ascension to political power he was aligned to one such NGO, namely Jamaica AIDS Support as I remember his visits then by foot with his trademark ponytail which he has since had barbered. He ought to know that many if not most NGOs for purposes of transparency do already display or list their funders sometimes complete with a logo to boot on their websites, documents or other paraphernalia so such a call seems frivolous to me or was it an attempt to knock groups such as Jamaicans for Justice, JFJ, who have been a thorn in the side of several administrations on the poor justice system and challenges, police excesses with successful court rulings and raising public awareness on such matters consistently while forcing governments to answer at periodical reviews on same matters with some embarrassment.
September 4 a decision had been handed down from the no less a person than party president and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller to postpone the leadership challenge in Mr Pryce’s St Elizabeth constituency to September 12 as tensions continue to flare, we can recall the allegations of him being gay and such allegations are also at the centre of the present impasse. He was targeted by the JLP in their YouTube videos back in the last elections alongside several others members of the party in a blatant show or stigmatization by a poorly executed campaign (which could explain why they lost).
So incensed were the comrades that on Nationwide radio last evening during the Nation’s business segment three such comrades spoke candidly (much to the disbelief of the hosts Dennis Books and Atka Fitz-Henly) that they would switch allegiance to the JLP in a sort of revenge voting tactic to send a message to the PNP hierarchy. Comrades are not known over the years to switch that easily to the JLP but the other way around and this matter of Mr Pryce’s retention as the eligible representative has become a surprise firestorm as the PNP is known to be able to quash in fighting as opposed to the JLP when not a week passes and there is not some disagreement that spills over into the public. Surprisingly the JLP seems to be getting its act together at least publicly as although the Christopher Tufton matter is not resolved in terms of his challenge to an incumbent in a new seat and the cancellation by the party secretariat of that race Delroy Chuck South St Andrew member of parliament (the one who has also asked for a referendum on buggery) has rejoined the party after resigning in a huff in March of this year and claims he now supports the leader Andrew Holness despite his flaws. Mr Chuck claims Mr Holness was sounding like a school principal on the political platform instead of a leader of a government in waiting and that he was an obstacle in the party getting funding as donors were concerned about him being bankable to win the elections. Let us also not forget the senate unsigned senate saga the church apology by Holness and bitterness that ensued, there is a never dull day in the JLP’s cass cass.
In a surprise response however the now lesser respected PNP MP Dr Dayton Campbell at a PNP public meeting lambasted the JLP and the so called three of four monied businessmen who want to run the country through the JLP as hypocrites and wanting to take down Andrew Holness, Dr Campbell however qualified his statement by saying he was not supporting Mr Holness out rightly (typical party loyalty there) but if they delegates voted my Holness in as they have a right to at conference why are a few powerful behind the scenes persons seemingly making moves to unseat him as they want a puppet to become leader (Mr Audley Shaw) who may accede to these invisible powerhouses their wishes in economic affairs. While Dr Campbell’s point may sound plausible upon first listen he should remember that the PNP is no different and is now feeling some effects of a similar nature. More persons seem uneasy with Mrs Simpson Miller’s style of management of the country and that she is not hands on and enforcing as previous party leaders such as the erudite Percival James Patterson. Aka PJ.
Back to the Pryce factor, many are watching the developments closely as accusations and counter accusations abound with the challenger claiming none of his staff have threatened Mr Pryce as Pryce recently tweeted on Twitter that no threats will deter him suggesting he has been issued death threats.
A tense calm is said to be in the area as supporting factions square off, meanwhile Mrs Simpson Miller is said to have been advised that she hay have difficulty physically visiting the constituency as incensed delegates are fuming. The seat for all intents and purposes is a safe seat for the PNP for years despite who is put up as candidate but with this kind of dissent with they lose this important seat with lots of other seats looking marginal as their victory figures are in the below thousand mark. It is unclear if active or ongoing enumeration for new voters is being done, I suppose no; not in that kind of environment of animosity. One of the panelists on the aforementioned Nationwide interview last evening mentioned something I forgot that a St Ann seat that was once a safe PNP seat also went to the JLP due to similar discontent over a representative and the party’s hierarchy response. General Secretary Paul Burke came in for some criticisms as well as he is said to be favouring Mr Pryce as it is a known fact that Mrs Simpson Miller openly supports Pryce and is thought he can do no wrong in her eyes.
Of note D. K. Duncan longtime stalwart has thrown in his hat by announcing his resignation, Mr Duncan who is married to the widow of Michael Manley formerly Beverly Anderson Manley and who is a strong LGBT discussion supporter as well especially during her days as a radio host on HOT102FM. Mr Duncan too has run into some mischief in a race for the seat as his own former campaign person has thought it fit to run on his own initiative.
Hugh Buchanan barely survived by some 14 votes in West St Elizabeth which raises questions about the split down the middle to carry home the bacon on Election Day? And what of East Portland where the incumbent was booted but the challenger won by a small lead as well suggesting worrying signs for the PNP. Damion Crawford who was not seeking re-election due to his divisive nature his constituency hierarchy were not interested in having him try for a second but he has been prevailed upon to run and openly supported by Minister Noel Arscott and the controversial Dr Dayton Campbell at a meeting on Sunday September 6.
Definitely more to come as I watch and listen to the issues. Glad you likes part 1 in this series and will deliver when possible updates.
JLP To Wrap-Up Candidate Selection Month End
Peace and tolerance