Jamaica Gleaner

‘Enough is enough’

Labourites call on MPs to unite

- Gary Spauld­ing Se­nior Gleaner Writer gary.spauld­ing@glean­erjm.com

DIEHARD SUP­PORT­ERS of the Ja­maica Labour Party (JLP) are com­plain­ing of be­ing fa­tigued and worn out by in­fight­ing and the seem­ingly never-end­ing squab­ble at the lead­er­ship level of the party.

But it ap­pears that it is not only the rank and file Labourites who are de­pressed and tired of the un­set­tled na­ture of the party since the de­par­ture of Bruce Gold­ing in 2010.

Hours af­ter vet­eran politi­cian Karl Sa­muda was barred from en­ter­ing his ve­hi­cle fol­low­ing last Fri­day’s par­lia­men­tary cau­cus at the party’s Bel­mont Road head­quar­ters, one prom­i­nent JLP mem­ber lamented that it will be hard for him to win his seat as there seems no end in sight to the dis­pute, given the stormy na­ture of meet­ing.

For some frus­trated Labourites, the bat­tling par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, with their huge egos, are hold­ing the JLP and the na­tion hostage.

Fol­low­ing last Fri­day’s cau­cus, the gamut of emo­tions from grass-roots Labourites who had trav­elled t o Bel­mont Road gushed to the fore in the form of anger and frus­tra­tion when news emerged that no res­o­lu­tion had been reached.

MA­JOR DIS­TRAC­TION

Op­po­si­tion House Leader Derrick Smith’s an­nounce­ment of another meet­ing on Tues­day was greeted with the out­burst: “This is a ma­jor dis­trac­tion, in­stead of this we should be fight­ing the PNP.”

Win­ston En­nis, mi­nor­ity leader in the Kingston and St An­drew Cor­po­ra­tion, who ex­pressed his frus­tra­tion at the fail­ure of the lead­ers to find com­mon ground, was im­me­di­ately sup­ported by another party worker who de­clared: “This is waste of time, it’s fool­ish­ness.”

When ap­proached by The Sun­day Gleaner, the ob­vi­ously in­fu­ri­ated male JLP sup­porter de­clined to elab­o­rate as a fe­male coun­ter­part de­clared: “Dem a stress we out, when we fight fe win seat.”

Pres­i­dent of Gen­er­a­tion 2000 Matthew Sa­muda t old The Sun­day Gleaner that he un­der­stands that frus­tra­tion of the party work­ers.

“When you are emo­tion­ally in­vested in any­thing, pol­i­tics or oth­er­wise, and there is the feel­ing of ei­ther self-in­ter­est or ego de­rail­ing that in­vest­ment, it’s a weary­ing feel­ing,” said Sa­muda.

JLP coun­cil­lor for the Lawrence Tav­ern di­vi­sion, John My­ers, echoed sim­i­lar sen­ti­ments. “It is time that we unite and fight the com­mon en­emy,” he de­clared.

Howard, who was among a bus­load of sup­port­ers from An­drew Hol­ness’ West Cen­tral St An­drew con­stituency, was not amused with the de­lay in ar­riv­ing at a res­o­lu­tion.

“The in­fight­ing in the JLP is mak­ing the PNP look good,” lamented a Hol­ness sup­porter who gave his name as Howard.

The im­pa­tience of other Hol­ness sup­port­ers was on full dis­play.

At one stage, they de­manded to en­ter the meet­ing and had to be calmed by vet­eran MP and Hol­ness backer Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange.

“It is time that we have our say,” de­clared one sup­porter. Another chipped in: “We are hard-work­ing po­lit­i­cal work­ers and we are go­ing to switch, if them kick out An­drew them kick we all out as well.”

MPs HOLD­ING JLP HOSTAGE

That was quickly echoed by another sup­porter who de­clared: “Twenty-one peo­ple hold­ing the JLP and Ja­maica hostage, it’s time to stop the blame game and look for al­ter­na­tives be­cause we are not sup­port­ing any­one but the JLP with An­drew Hol­ness as leader.”

Er­rol Stephen­son knows his way in and out of the JLP, hav­ing been booted from the party dur­ing the in­fa­mous ‘Gang of Five’ episode 25 years ago while he was a vice-pres­i­dent of the party’s youth group, Young Ja­maica.

“Fast-for­ward 25 years and the sit­u­a­tion re­mains the same, if not worse,” said Stephen­son, who left the JLP with Bruce Gold­ing to form the Na­tional Demo­cratic Move­ment be­fore re­turn­ing to the party.

Ac­cord­ing to Stephen­son, the party should co­a­lesce around Hol­ness.

“To un­der­stand where I am com­ing from, the party was back­ward and cen­tred on in­di­vid­u­al­ism. We have not learned any­thing as we con­tinue to al­low our­selves to be dom­i­nated and in­flu­enced by oth­ers, with ev­ery­one hav­ing t heir own agenda in­stead of be­ing united around a cause.”

 ?? IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER ?? Vet­eran Ja­maica Labour Party Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange try­ing to calm party sup­port­ers who de­clared enough is enough at the party’s Bel­mont Road head­quar­ters last Fri­day.
IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER Vet­eran Ja­maica Labour Party Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange try­ing to calm party sup­port­ers who de­clared enough is enough at the party’s Bel­mont Road head­quar­ters last Fri­day.

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