Holness bubble bursts - Shine rubs off young PM

Dudus/Manatt episode cost JLP dearly, says Samuda

BY INGRID BROWN Senior staff reporter browni@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 30, 2011

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JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) campaign director Karl Samuda last night said the Dudus/Manatt episode has cost the party dearly. "I cannot over-emphasise the extent to which that resonates in the minds of the people for a number of months," Samuda told journalists when he arrived at the JLP headquarters at Belmont Road in Kingston shortly after the election was declared in favour of the People's National Party (PNP).


Samuda, who stopped short of admitting that the extradition saga cost the party the election, said it was a moment of great regret for the party.


"The Labourites feel it, but we will rebound," he said, as he paraphrased a quote: "I am told to laugh because to cry would be embarrassing.".


He said the party will be meeting with everyone at the decision-making level to chart the way forward.


Meanwhile, JLP leader and prime minister Andrew Holness, in conceding the election, said, "the people have spoken and we are humble servants and we listen".


As such, Holness told journalists that he had since called Prime Minister-designate Portia Simpson Miller to concede.


"I wish the new Government well with the challenges they will face and I hope for the people of Jamaica that they will do a good job," he said.


According to Holness, it is a time of introspection and reflection for the party.


Holness said it is clear that the people still have concerns about his party. He, too, admitted that the Dudus/Manatt affair — which resulted in a strain in relations between Jamaica and the USA over that country's extradition request for accused drug trafficker Christopher 'Dudus' Coke — has always been in the backdrop.


Holness vowed to begin the JLP's campaign as early as today to be returned to power.


"We are determined to serve the people in the best way possible," he added.


According to Holness, who became the head of Government on October 23, he did not have much room to work, having served as prime minister for such a short time. However, he said he was looking forward to another opportunity.


Meanwhile, Samuda said the JLP remains proud of its achievements even as he vowed that the party will remain a very vibrant Opposition.


"We are going into Parliament with our heads high," he said.


He said he does not foresee a problem with Holness continuing to lead the party, as he pledged to continue giving him his support.


"I support him today as strongly as I support him yesterday," Samuda said.


Meanwhile, some persons at the scantily populated JLP headquarters last night openly vented their anger at party officials whom they accused of neglecting the supporters during their reign.


"The MP dem abandon the councillors and the workers from dem win and dat is why this happen tonight," one man shouted.


Other supporters were overheard complaining of similar neglect as they accused the party officials of being too high-handed.



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