JLP FALLOUT after Leadership Election

Following Andrew Holness’ convincing victory over his colleague Audley Shaw on November 10, 2013, there was bound to be some political fallout in the aftermath of a very bruising leadership campaign. This was expected because in the tribalistic politics practiced in Jamaica, scathing remarks from both candidates platform in the lead up to the election would definitely leave deep wounds afterwards. Regardless of the outcome of the election, there would have been major fallout because elections have inevitable consequences and loyalty would have to be rewarded – there’s no two ways about it. People cannot be naive to think that after the bloodletting on the campaign trail that things would remain the same as before – NUH SANKEY NUH SING SUH and after all this is POLITICS.

After staving off a strong challenge from Audley Shaw, there were expected resignations and as early as two hours after Andrew Holness was elected as JLP Leader, letters flowed in from members who supported Shaw’s failed bid. The first came from Shaw, who said he was tendering his resignation as Shadow Minister of Finance, Planning, Growth and Economic Development, to give Holness a free hand to select a team in which he has confidence going forward.

This was closely followed by a letter from Gregory Mair stating that he would resign as spokesman for industry, commerce and energy.

Opposition Spokesperson on Education and Human Resources, Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert, and spokesman on National Security and Justice, and Electoral Matters, Delroy Chuck have also resigned from those posts. Chuck has also resigned as Leader of Opposition Business; he further indicated to Holness that he does not wish to be considered for any position in a new shadow cabinet at this time. He said this decision stems from his desire to ease the tension within the ranks of the JLP as well as comments aimed at him which called his integrity into question.

Edmund Bartlett resigned as tourism and travel service development spokesman while Dr Christopher Tufton has relinquished his role as spokesman on foreign affairs, foreign trade and investments.

Daryl Vaz also resigned as the spokesman on ICT and Digital Society Development.

Shortly thereafter a release came from Olivia “Babsy” Grange, head of the Party’s Public Relations committee stating that the entire Shadow Cabinet of the Jamaica Labour Party has now resigned. In the statement released, Miss Grange noted that “after brief consultation among the remaining members of the Shadow Cabinet, it was decided after the Party’s regularly held Standing Committee meeting, that the Leader should be given a free hand to assemble his team”.

She continued “All positions that were appointed at the Leader’s discretion should be vacated as a sign of respect for the mandate of the Leader. A premise of the challenge to the Leader was that some members of the Parliamentary and Shadow Cabinet team had lost confidence in his leadership. That being the expressed view, it is only the principled thing that members offer their resignation to allow the Leader unfettered discretion in assembling a team which he is sure has confidence in his leadership. The effect is that the entire Shadow Cabinet has offered their resignation”.

CASUALTIES

Opposition Leader Andrew Holness announced his 14 member Shadow Cabinet yesterday in time for Parliament to be convened later in the day. This was a good move in my estimation because the nation’s business has to go on. I heard Delroy Chuck, a man I have a lot of regard for, criticizing the move saying it was “hastily done” and that Holness should have waited until some of the issues facing the party were resolved. That is utter NONSENSE because the Opposition need to get its act together so that they can make meaningful contributions in the Parliament.

The Shadow Cabinet appointments were as follows:

1) ANDREW HOLNESS – LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION, EDUCATION, DEVELOPMENT & DEFENCE

2) AUDLEY SHAW – FINANCE & PLANNING {DECLINED}

3) DERRICK SMITH – NATIONAL SECURITY

4) DR HORACE CHANG – TRANSPORT, WATER AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

5) KARL SAMUDA – INDUSTRY, INVESTMENT, COMMERCE, MINING & ENERGY

6) DR KENNETH BAUGH – HEALTH

7) PEARNEL CHARLES – LABOUR, SOCIAL SECURITY & PUBLIC SERVICE

8) OLIVIA “BABSY” GRANGE – INFORMATION, YOUTH, CULTURE, SPORTS & GENDER AFFAIRS

9) SHAHINE ROBINSON – TOURISM & CRUISE SHIPPING

10) J.C. HUTCHINSON – AGRICULTURE & FISHERIES

11) EDMUND BARTLETT – FOREIGN AFFAIRS & FOREIGN TRADE {DECLINED}

12) DESMOND McKENZIE – LOCAL GOVERNMENT, RURAL & URBAN DEVELOPMENT

13) ANDREW WHEATLEY – SCIENCE, ICT, DIGITAL SOCIETY DEVELOPMENT & THE ENVIRONMENT

14) ALEXANDER WILLIAMS – JUSTICE/ JUSTICE SYSTEM REFORM

The noticeable omissions from Holness’ revamped Shadow Cabinet were evident – Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert, Delroy Chuck, Daryl Vaz, Gregory Mair and Dr. Christopher Tufton – all supporters of Team Shaw. NO SURPRISES there because with the exception of Delroy Chuck, they were all caustic and scathing in their comments about Andrew Holness’ leadership style and his perceived unsuitability for leadership of the JLP. Arthur Williams has not been renamed because there are issues regarding the Senate positions.

 

POWER STRUGGLE

Audley Shaw and Edmund Bartlett seems to be engaging in some sort of power play with the duly elected JLP Leader/Opposition Leader Andrew Holness. Holness offered both gentlemen positions in his new Shadow Cabinet which they flatly REFUSED, going on to make certain DEMANDS of the LEADER. Here are the letters that were released to the media by both Audley Shaw and Edmund Bartlett minutes after speaking PRIVATELY with the Opposition Leader.

 

AUDLEY SHAW’S LETTER

Dear Leader:

 

This confirms our discussion of even date, in which I informed you thatI will not accept assignment as Shadow Minister until several issues of concern to me are cleared up.  

The main issues are your expressed desire for ALL Senators to resign and the outstanding issue of the challenged legitimacy of the nomination of two Deputy Leaders.

It is clear to me that the reason for your desire to have the resignations of the Senators, is to allow for the exclusion of Dr Christopher Tufton and others who did not support you in the recent election.

In relation to the nominations of the two Deputy Leaders of Area Councils 2 and 4, there is clear evidence of the nomination of both Deputy Leaders.

In relation to Dr Tufton, you asked me to furnish you evidence of a Tara Courier receipt which conveyed the nomination forms for both yourself and Dr Tufton from Area Council 4.

These forms were subsequently delivered to the General Secretary, Dr Horace Chang by Mr Ian Murray and formally confirms that Dr Tufton was the sole person nominated for Deputy Leader at the Area Council meeting in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland on September 29.

I believe that these issues are being used to pursue a non-unifying path, especially against Dr Tufton, which I find totally unacceptable.

In the circumstances, I cannot accept assignment as Shadow Minister until the two identified issues are resolved.

Yours truly,

Audley Shaw

EDMUND BARTLETT’S LETTER

My Dear Leader, 

Further to our meeting this morning at your office regarding subject and your offer for me to assume the portfolio responsibility for Foreign Affairs Foreign Trade and Investment and the discussions we had regarding my preference for the Tourism portfolio I am advising with great respect that I cannot accept the appointment at this time.

You will further recall the wider discussions with your good self Mr Audley Shaw and myself in respect of outstanding party issues which are impatient of urgent resolution to enable healing and unification as we move forward to regain State power for our great party.

I remain committed to serve my party in any capacity which will ensure full reconciliation and unity so that the objectives of your mandate from our delegates can be realized.

Respectfully yours

Edmund Bartlett CD,MP

 

Both gentlemen have the GALL to be giving ULTIMATUM to the LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION and their PARTY LEADER. They are OUT OF ORDER to say the least and they must REALLY BELIEVE that Andrew Holness is WEAK and easily manipulated. Andrew Holness MUST NOT bow to their DEMANDS, show STRONG LEADERSHIP and let them know in no uncertain terms that it’s either they FALL IN LINE or be CUT altogether.

 

I believe Andrew Holness to be a strategist and politically astute – by offering Shaw and Bartlett positions in his shadow cabinet, he is clearly seen to be reaching out to them for UNITY. By DECLINING their appointments and making DEMANDS – both men are now seen as RESISTING attempts at unifying the party. I firmly believe that they were baited and they fell for it. However, he is showing LEADERSHIP because he has even left the offer open for the men to consider because he could have done otherwise. When asked how long the offer would be left open, he responded by saying he doesn’t want to put a time on it because “healing takes time”. He could have simply reasoned that they were made an OFFER and they REFUSED – that’s the end of the argument. Holness  continued to reach out when he tweeted this message “my hands are open, unclench your fists” after their demands were made PUBLIC.

 

 I also agree with Dr. Paul Ashley’s assessment when he suggested that the Shaw faction has been caught in a political trap. Dr. Ashley stated that “the Shaw team has not been disbanded and seems to be under the impression that because they amassed over 2,000 votes, they have some leverage. Their demands have to be met in order that they participate in any attempt at unity”.

 

Both men NEED to realize that the delegates have spoken and REJECTED them in the election. Their tone and posture was WRONG. Challenging a leader for his crown have consequences  and IF they continue to RESIST, my advice to Mr. Holness would be to CRACK the WHIP and STAMP his AUTHORITY and DUMP them from his Shadow Cabinet. Though they could form a vital part of your team – NOBODY IS INDISPENSABLE. They made their choice and the way they went about it showed a LACK OF CLASS. No one negotiates in PUBLIC, they should not have gone to the MEDIA with a letter addressed to their Leader – that’s very tacky.

 

 Let’s look at a biblical analogy – Satan rebelled against God and went after his crown and was booted from Heaven. Isaiah 14:12-14 states “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

 

 Revelation 12:7-9 further adds “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”

 

Just to be clear: Audley Shaw is not Satan and the JLP Shadow Cabinet is not Heaven, furthermore he has a democratic right to challenge the leader at any time but he must also understand that a failed challenge will have consequences for himself and his supporters.

 

RESIGNATION OF SENATORS

It is my view that all the Opposition Senators should follow suit and tender their resignations to the Governor-General to give the Opposition Leader a free hand to revamp the Upper House. Constitutionally, the senators are under no compulsion to resign nor can the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader fire them for that matter. However, some senators have offered to resign but the Opposition Leader has stated that he would prefer all the senators to resign en bloc. Dr. Christopher Tufton especially should resign on a matter of principle since the reason he supported Shaw’s challenge  was because he essentially lost confidence in Andrew Holness’ leadership. Tufton and all the senators were APPOINTED by the Governor-General on the RECOMMENDATION of the Opposition Leader. Since he serves in that capacity on the Opposition Leader’s recommendation, he should go based on the strident comments he made about the leader.

 

There are arguments abound that once the senators are appointed they are INDEPENDENT  – they SHOULD BE INDEPENDENT in their thinking for the benefit of the country but we all know that it is NOT SO IN REALITY. The truth is, we draw on the WESTMINSTER MODEL when it suits us and Jamaica has bastardize that system of governance because senators tend to vote along partisan line on matters of national importance.

 

This appears to be the chicken and the egg scenario – which comes first? I know the CHICKEN WAS FIRST and as such, Dr. Tufton could not have been APPOINTED to the SENATE if the Opposition Leader did not make the RECOMMENDATION to the Governor-General. Therefore, if the Leader wants him out of the Senate – I think he should do the HONOURABLE thing and resign. Christopher Tufton’s treachery must be seen in this context as well – He LOST his PARLIAMENTARY SEAT in the 2011 General Election and was included in Holness’ Shadow Cabinet by being appointed to the Senate. He made a HUGE mistake in siding with Shaw against Holness and has subsequently found himself on the outside. Audley Shaw and his team gambled by placing all their chips on the table and LOST, so the SPOILS OF WAR will go to the VICTOR.

 

CONCLUSION

Andrew Holness has made his move by naming his Shadow Cabinet, so now the ball is firmly in the court of Audley Shaw and Edmund Bartlett to make their move. They have made DEMANDS of the LEADER when they are in NO POSITION to do so – they MUST also remember that Andrew has the HANDLE and they have the BLADE and that they can get CUT. Both men are also speaking out of both sides of their mouth by stating that they are willing to serve in any capacity to help rebuild the party and then refuse when given a position.

 

It’s now up to members of the JLP to get their house in order because the PNP are watching as well as the Jamaican public who they will have to face when the next elections are called.

 

 

Standard

JLP Leadership Debate Finally Settled – Andrew Holness Elected Leader

On November 10, 2013 the delegates of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) turned out at the National Arena in their numbers to exercise their franchise and voted to ELECT the incumbent Andrew Holness as the leader of the JLP. Of the approximately 5,105 delegates who were eligible to vote for the leader of Bustamante’s party for the first time since 1974 – 2,704 delegates cast their ballots for Andrew Holness while the challenger Audley Shaw garnered 2,012 votes. This gave Andrew Holness – a man previously ANOINTED as JLP leader in 2011 following the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Bruce Golding – an EMPHATIC VICTORY MARGIN of 692 votes and most importantly HIS OWN MANDATE. Looking at the raw numbers – 4,716 votes were cast for both candidates and would indicate that either 389 of the 5,105 ballots were spoilt or 389 delegates ABSTAINED from the democratic process. It could also mean a combination of the two.

Now that the dust has settled on the leadership issue once and for all or at least for the foreseeable future leading up to the next general election – What’s the next step for the JLP? The FIRST ORDER of BUSINESS for the JLP going forward MUST be to HEAL the obvious WOUNDS that have emerged in what was a very bitter and divisive election campaign with comments coming from the platforms of both candidates. Andrew Holness must bring all the opposing members of TEAM SHAW under ONE BANNER that is TEAM JLP and in line with his VISION for the party. These men and women who supported the challenge of the leader and lost MUST work with the leader for the good of the JLP and declare their full support so that a UNITED party can tackle the PNP in the upcoming general election that is constitutionally due in the next two (2) years.

The SECOND STEP must be to STRENGTHEN the INTERNAL PROCESSES of the party at all levels especially the Secretariat led by Dr. Horace Chang. Mr. Chang should recuse himself from the position of General Secretary of the party because throughout the leadership race he has not acted in a manner that was unbiased at all. Even though he may well have been supporting one candidate over the other, I think he should have kept his choice to himself and not made any PUBLIC UTTERANCE in that regard. There must also be STRONG SANCTIONS against any member who clearly violate stated party policies and discuss party business in the public domain.

The THIRD STEP must be to continue to oil their election machinery now that their base has been energized and go on an islandwide tour and meet all councillors, party workers and reach out to the uncommitted voters. The JLP MUST IDENTIFY all the UNCOMMITTED VOTERS who are eligible to vote and ascertain those who are sympathetic to the JLP policies and CONDUCT a vigorous ENUMERATION CAMPAIGN.

The FOURTH STEP that the JLP should take is to LAUNCH a SUSTAINED ONSLAUGHT on this PNP administration by OUTLINING all its FAILED POLICIES. The strategy enunciated by Holness while on the campaign trail was to allow the current government enough room to carry out its policies without the Opposition being seen as a destabilizing force and thereby incurring the wrath of the public if the PNP plans failed. After the 2011 general election, the Jamaican economy was still in crisis with no IMF deal so I think that was a SMART plan. However, now that this Government is almost 2 years into its reign, the TIME is NOW RIPE for the JLP to go for the JUGULAR to make this INEPT administration a one-term government.

I prayed that Andrew Holness would be ELECTED as JLP LEADER today and the next PRIME MINISTER after the next general election because he has outlined a CLEAR VISION for this country – JAMAICA LAND WE LOVE. His policies on education has been good with emphasis on LITERACY and NUMERACY at the EARLY CHILDHOOD LEVEL and he clearly has a grasp of the myriad of issues facing the country at this time unlike the current PM Portia Simpson-Miller. As a Christian and a FIRM BELIEVER in the BIBLE – I know that GOD had a role to play in the outcome of the JLP election today. The Bible tells us through the prophet Daniel – “Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Daniel 2:20-21) and further states in Daniel 4:17 that “this matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” Romans 13:1-2 tells us clearly “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”  Therefore, it is ultimately GOD who gives leaders their mandate and it’s then left up to them to govern according to his principles.

I also supported Andrew Holness because of all the politicians currently active, he is the most TRUTHFUL and HONEST with the ELECTORATE to his detriment at times and much of the criticisms leveled at him were UNFAIR. However, Holness has made MISTAKES along the way such as NOT MAKING the Strategic Review Report PUBLIC in the aftermath of the JLP election loss. Criticisms about WINNABILITY, TIMING of the election and being Portia’s son were UNFAIR simply because if half of those persons who lost their seats had won in 2011 then the JLP would still be government today so they have NO CREDIBILITY to talk about winnability and furthemore Andrew had a BASKET to CARRY WATER in the form of the DUDUS/MANATT AFFAIR and the perceived JDIP SCANDAL. The economy was in crisis and the government at the time failed to sit some of the IMF TESTS and people in the country were feeling the pinch. The timing of the election is POSSIBLY the only reason that could stand up to scrutiny but it is my opinion that the JLP would still have lost the election probably not by so large a margin because of the above mentioned reasons. Something happened when then PM Holness went to Washington because on his arrival in Jamaica, Andrew thought it pertinent to call the election in the Christmas period which most political analysts know is not the thing to do. People must also BEAR IN MIND that on the 2011 campaign trail, Andrew Holness promised BITTER MEDICINE based on economic situation that Jamaica found itself in and the following April a budget would have to be presented which would not ENDEAR the JLP to the electorate in 2012. WHY? This is simple because every economics student know that there are  ONLY two (2) ways for governments to RAISE REVENUE – BORROWING and TAXATION. Borrowing was clearly off the table so TAXATION was the ONLY REAL OPTION as shown by Dr. Peter Phillips who levied the largest tax package in the country’s history. Therefore, Holness had to call the election in 2011 to seek his own mandate having told the electorate about BITTER MEDICINE. Some have argued that Holness should not have leveled with the electorate calling him naive and inexperienced BUT I reject such arguments because I prefer the truth no matter how painful rather that PROMISES or pie in the sky rhetoric. Jamaicans are HYPOCRITES and often times it’s DAMNED IF YOU DO or DAMNED IF YOU DON’T. Andrew Holness fell to a famous Jamaican proverb in the lead up to the 2011 election and it ALMOST came back to HAUNT him in the JLP Leadership election – IF YUH BUY TRIPE, YUH GET BONE!

REPERCUSSIONS

Thank GOD he won this time around and ELECTIONS HAVE INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCES. Even though many of the supporters of Audley Shaw’s candidacy for JLP LEADER have a part to play in a future JLP Government – I EXPECT MANY RESIGNATIONS especially in the Opposition Leader’s SHADOW CABINET and SENATE. Audley Shaw, Daryl Vaz, Gregory Mair, Delroy Chuck, Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert, Edmund Bartlett and Christopher Tufton MUST DO THE HONOURABLE THING AND TENDER THEIR RESIGNATIONS FORTHWITH and give the newly elected JLP LEADER a free hand to REAPPOINT those whom he sees fit because that’s the PREROGATIVE of the OPPOSITION LEADER. It is likely though that there may be casualties but there are some who are redeemable from the bunch such as Audley Shaw (Finance Spokesman), Delroy Chuck (National Security Portfolio), Marissa Dalrymple-Philibert (Education Portfolio) but they MUST FALL IN LINE with the Leader’s Vision – the ball is firmly in their court, so they have to EITHER SHAPE UP OR SHIP OUT.

CONCLUSION

In concluding, this JLP LEADERSHIP CHALLENGE was GOOD for the PARTY – the DEMOCRATIC PROCESS has worked and an essential ingredient for any modern day POLITICAL PARTY not just the ANOINTING of any LEADER by MEN in GREY SUITS in a boardroom. The PARTY’S BASE and grass-roots members were ENERGIZED which puts the JLP in GOOD STEAD to TACKLE the Portia Simpson-Miller led Government. The JLP is now STRONGER after this leadership election so now it’s left up to ANDREW MICHAEL HOLNESS to take up the CHALLENGE and STAMP his leadership on Jamaican political landscape. He MUST show the Jamaican people that the Jamaica Labour Party is a CREDIBLE GOVERNMENT in waiting because he now has his OWN MANDATE.

Standard