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Chang issues warning to non-performing JLP reps

BY MARK CUMMINGS Editor-at-Large, Western Bureau cummingsm@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, December 24, 2013    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — General Secretary of the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Dr Horace Chang has warned the party's political representatives that they will not contest future elections on the JLP's ticket unless they are performing.

"I suspect that I will be even more unpopular this year, but I will be very hard on the constituencies. If you are not doing it (performing), we are going to find someone else to do it, and I have no apologies for that," Dr Chang stressed.

"You may be my friend, but in politics this year I have no friends, all I have are colleagues, no friends; so if you do the work you will get my support, and if you don't do the work you will have to step aside."

The JLP general secretary, who is also the member of Parliament for North West St James, was addressing delegates at Sunday's meeting of the party's Area Council Four, which covers 16 constituencies across the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland and St Elizabeth. The meeting took place at the Bellfield Great House in Montego Bay.

He told the delegates that the country has been going through difficult times and as such the citizens are seeking leadership from the JLP, adding that if the party is to form the next Government, it will have to focus on winning all of the seats in Area Council Four.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for North West St Elizabeth, J C Hutchinson was nominated unopposed to succeed Dr Christopher Tufton as the deputy leader in charge of Area Council Four.

Dr Tufton resigned amid controversy surrounding his nomination for the position earlier this year.

On Sunday, he told the delegates that his decision to withdraw from the process should not be perceived as an indication that he was leaving the party.

"I am in no way, shape or form leaving the party or abandoning the party, or the efforts of the party to regain state power. I remain a member of the party but sometimes you have to retreat and reflect, and I am at the stage where I believe I need to do that," he told the delegates.

A former minister of agriculture and fisheries, Dr Tufton was up to early November a member of the Senate and the JLP's spokesperson on foreign affairs and foreign trade.

But following the party's bitter leadership race between Party Leader Andrew Holness and his challenger Audley Shaw, the member of Parliament for North East Manchester, which saw Holness retaining the party's top post, Dr Tufton was left out of the Senate and was not renamed as a member of the shadow Cabinet.

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