Restless with party leadership

KINGSTON — The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party appears on the brink of another implosion as discontent mounts over the leadership being provided by Andrew Holness.

The latest discord affecting the often fractious party surrounds its second consultation on the economy held at Portmore Missionary Church yesterday at which Holness was the featured speaker.

What got JLP insiders fuming, though, was the exclusion of the party’s spokesmen on issues relevant to the economy. They are Audley Shaw, finance; Dr. Christopher Tufton, foreign affairs, foreign trade, and investment; and Gregory Mair, industry, commerce and energy.

Instead, a JLP flyer for the consultation, titled “Connecting – Focus on the Economy” advertised Robert Montague, JLP chairman; James Robertson, JLP deputy leader; Dr. Andrew Wheatley, deputy general secretary; and Shahine Robinson, MP for St Ann North East.

“This is absolutely crazy,” one party insider said yesterday. “How can the JLP be having a discussion on the economy with Jamaicans and exclude the spokespersons who are charged with the responsibility of overseeing the portfolios relevant to the economy?”

According to the party insider, who did not wish to be named, Shaw, who was the finance minister in the last JLP Government, feels totally disrespected and it would not be a surprise if he resigned.

A media advisory of the event announced that the consultation “will focus on the economy and is aimed at giving Jamaicans a chance to help guide JLP policies on the development of Jamaica”.

The Observer was unable to reach Shaw, Tufton and Mair for a comment. However, last week a senior JLP official signalled to this newspaper that all was not well in the party as Holness was increasingly being seen as a weak and insecure leader.

“Look at what Daryl [Vaz] did, announcing that he will take a 10 per cent pay cut. Andrew, as leader of the party, should have done that,” said the official.

Last week, Vaz had announced that he would give back 10 per cent of his salary as Member of Parliament in solidarity with the sacrifice that Jamaicans are being asked to make in the face of a worsening economy. (Observer)

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