Thu | Jun 4, 2020

JLP’s selection process

Published:Thursday | February 20, 2020 | 12:14 AM


Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Chairman Dr Horace Chang attended university the same time I did. If I were to describe him at that time, I would have used the words, ‘quiet’, ‘unassuming’ and ‘introverted’. Imagine my surprise when he decided to run for the position of president in guild elections. His opponent was my close friend – a loud, loved, rambunctious Trinidadian, who was a popular fixture at every party and demonstration. Surprisingly, Chang gave him a proper trouncing. Thereafter, I developed a healthy respect for his organisational ability.

For the second time in as many weeks, the evening news was headlined by reports of demonstrations by LJP supporters, loudly rejecting prospective candidates for the next general election. I was surprised for two reasons: first, the same Dr Chang was presiding over this situation, and that the party behind this was the one that was presenting itself to the public as being ‘new and different’.

Why, I wonder, would the party cause its candidates to suffer this baptism of fire by running a gauntlet of its supporters, thereby placing them in the unenviable position of having to win back its supporters before facing the main opposition exhausted, bloodied and bowed?

Since this has escaped the party, may I suggest a few things?

First, the suitability and acceptability questions should have been settled at least a year ago.

Second, the selection process should have been settled in private with constituency leaders before any public announcement.

What the last two candidates were made to experience was grossly unfair to them. And the presence of the party leader on nomination day cannot compensate for this oversight.

May I suggest that immediate meetings with stakeholders and additional resources for these two candidates be seen as urgent necessities.

Glenn Tucker