Big problems looming for Jamaica Labour Party

KINGSTON – Warren Newby, campaign co-ordinator of the Audley

Shaw for Leader team, has said the party will have a problem on its

hands in the aftermath of the current leadership challenge to heal rifts

because of actions by “powerful members of the Andrew Holness


Newby, a former senator and parliamentary secretary with

responsibility for youth in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth

and Sports when the JLP formed the government in 2007, charged that

the camp had removed a number of legitimate workers and delegates

from the voters’ list.

He was speaking Sunday at the Youth for Shaw Conference held

at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, involving past and

other current G2K executives and members from across the island.

“We can’t, to date, tell you with certainty that we will accept the

voters’ list being produced by the secretariat of the party. Even now

there is a meeting going on at Belmont Road going over a process we

thought was completed three weeks ago. We cannot even determine

who are the legitimate delegates of the Jamaica Labour Party and

they want to make you believe that they were organising,” Newby

said to applause.

“This process has disenfranchised so many legitimate workers and

delegates of the Jamaica Labour Party. We will have a challenge before

us to heal the party because of how many persons have been taken off

the list by powerful members of the Holness camp because it is believed

they are supporters of Audley Shaw,” he said further.

Newby also questioned the silence of Holness over

recent developments which have seen “several councillors

being ostracised by members of Parliament because of their

assertion of their right protected by the constitution (to

decide on their leader of choice)”.

“There is not even one word of condemnation that has

come from Andrew Holness on those matters,” he said,

claiming that Holness had failed to berate members of his

team for castigating, in unflattering terms, JLP members not

in his camp.

“There is nothing transformational about him. I don’t

know where this energy has come from in Mr Holness all

of a sudden, because prior to the challenge what he was

practising was a politics of silence,” Newby declared.

At the same time, he defended the style of campaigning

of Shaw.

“They attack Mr. Shaw constantly about ‘ray ray’, seeking

to put a negative spin to the way in which he campaigns.

Before now it was OK. Ray Ray is advocacy. Paul Bogle was

ray ray in his time, Marcus Garvey was ray ray in his time,

Bustamante was ray ray in his time. So gi wi dat ‘cause a dat

Labourites know and love, gi wi dat,” he said to cheers.

“The message of our party needs a messenger.

Altogether, in one accord, we are going to make Audley

Shaw leader of the Jamaica Labour Party,” he added.

In the meantime, Newby raised questions about the

method by which the current party leader took the helm

following the resignation of former leader Bruce Golding,

who led the party to victory in 2007 after it spent over 18

years in the political wilderness.

“Two years ago, we had to choose a leader, the leader

we have now arrived out of consensus, consensus of big men

and women in a room. I believe that there is something fundamentally

flawed with such a process. It is not right that any big man, any power

group to sit in a room and decide who leads a political party and who

should emerge as prime minister of our country,” Newby charged.

“That right belongs to you as the delegates of the party, that right we

must protect with all our lives,” he told the faithful.

“Since that time we have lost two elections, one for local government

and one for central government. The claim by the current leadership is

that they have used the period to organise. Now, where is the evidence

of this? The facts are glaringly opposite to that claim,”

he said. (Jamaica Observer)

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