Jamaica PM: End division in party
KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – As the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) prepares for its annual convention next month, Prime Minister and political leader Bruce Golding is calling for unity among all members.
“Take your party in your hands and protect the gains that we have fought so hard to make. This business of one set of Labourites in one corner whispering and don’t want another set of Labourites who are whispering in another corner to hear what they are saying must stop,” Golding said.
“We’ve had that done to us … it has cost us a huge price … we ought not to go back down that road,” the JLP leader told supporters at a meeting in the central parish of Clarendon.
Political observers say the party has been split as a result of a number of factors including the campaign being mounted for key positions within the leadership of the ruling party as well as the fallout from the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke to the United States on drugs and gun-related charges.
The role of the party has come in for sharp criticism after Prime Minister Golding sought to distance his administration from the involvement of a US law firm that he said had been hired by the JLP to lobby Washington on the extradition matter.
Among the key executive posts up for grabs at the convention is that of general secretary where the incumbent Karl Samuda is facing a challenge from Information Minister Dayrl Vaz. Meanwhile, the JLP youth arm, Generation 2000 (G2K), has thrown its support behind Vaz in his bid to unseat Samuda.
In a release, G2K said its support for Vaz followed consultations with the membership that agreed that a renewal of the party is necessary for a successful re-election effort.
It said that Vaz has the overwhelming support of members for the post and that its endorsement of the Information Minister should not be mistaken as a sign of disrespect to Samuda who has served the JLP for more than four decades. (CMC)