'Big Rob' tipped for Senate seat

'Big Rob' tipped for Senate seat

Thursday, February 20, 2020

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ROBERT “Big Rob” Miller has emerged as the first choice of several senior members of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) to fill the vacancy on the Government benches in the Senate, caused by the recent resignation of Pearnel Charles Jr.

JLP sources say Prime Minister Andrew Holness is poised to name the new government senator shortly and Miller, the party's caretaker for the St Catherine South Eastern consistency, is the man most senior Labourites want to see get the nod.

According to the JLP sources, while Holness has hinted that he wanted a trained lawyer to fill the vacancy, political considerations could see him name Miller, who is contesting a constituency that the party will be targeting in the next general election.

“Delano Seiveright could also be considered but he is doing a good job helping Ed [Bartlett] in tourism, which is one of the bright sparks for the Government now, and I doubt that the PM will want to break up that team so close to an election,” said one senior JLP insider.

“In addition, Delano is not yet selected for a seat while Big Rob is in one which we can take from the PNP (People's National Party). So to put him in the Senate now would increase his national profile and make it even easier for the party to take that seat,” added the JLP insider.

St Catherine South Eastern is now represented by the PNP's Colin Fagan who retained the seat in the 2016 election by a margin of 395 votes. But that was a big gain by the JLP which had lost the seat by 1,671 votes in 2011.

Holness has not yet indicated when he will name the replacement for Charles, who resigned from the Senate recently to contest the March 2 by-election in the Clarendon South Eastern, but the JLP insider says the vacancy will be filled shortly.

“You see how fast the PM moved to name (Matthew) Samuda to the Cabinet, I suspect he will also move quickly to fill the Senate vacancy,” declared the JLP insider.

Samuda, a government senator, was sworn in on Monday as minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, as Holness moved to satisfy the constitutional requirement that at least two members of the Cabinet should come from the Upper House.

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