Mon | Sep 27, 2021

St Ann rep Ryan Simpson quits JLP

Published:Wednesday | August 4, 2021 | 12:12 AM

Dr Ryan Simpson, whose 2020 electoral bid was upended by allegations that he breached COVID-19 protocols, has resigned from the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), shocking some of his associates.

Chairman of the party’s public relations committee, Senator Matthew Samuda, confirmed that Simpson also resigned from the St Ann South East constituency executive and as caretaker for the Beecher Town division “for personal and commercial reasons”.

“The JLP thanks him for his service, and we wish him well,” said Samuda, noting that the notice was submitted last week.

Simpson was the party’s first-choice candidate to battle incumbent Lisa Hanna of the People’s National Party for the parliamentary seat but was removed by the JLP leadership over the reported breaches of the COVID-19 restrictions linked to his return from overseas in the lead-up to nomination day on August 18.

He was ultimately replaced by Delroy Granston, who lost the seat by 31 votes in a landslide JLP election win that many felt could have seen the JLP claiming the seat for the first time were it not for candidacy hiccups.

Telephone calls to Simpson have gone unanswered.

In a message to his workers and close allies that he was leaving the JLP and all positions in the party, Simpson said he was sticking to his promise to “never abandon” the constituency.

“I will be turning my attention to leading a number of community initiatives through my non-profit T.U.R.N. 180 Jamaica (Ltd), as well as business ventures that will motivate and engage young people and provide some employment opportunities for people in the constituency,” read the message seen by The Gleaner.

“I thank you for your love and support to my candidacy, as well as for your prayers and encouragements during my very hard setback just prior to the general elections and after.”

JLP insiders say Simpson has not been happy about how he was treated and was particularly dissatisfied with the length of time it took for his ratification as the candidate for the local government elections due next year.

The credibility of the claims of displeasure is supported by Simpson’s decision to leave the party but continued work in the constituency, argued one official.

The local government elections are due by 2022.