JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) Leader Andrew Holness told supporters in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, on on the weekend that he is not afraid of the possibility of a challenge to his leadership of the party in November.
"My view is that this is a part of the evolutionary development of a political party. It is nothing new, it is nothing to be afraid of," Holness told party supporters.
The Opposition leader was speaking at a divisional fund-raising dinner in the North West St Elizabeth constituency of JLP MP JC Hutchinson — said to be one of several members of Parliament supporting his leadership in the likelihood of a challenge from former finance and public service minister, Audley Shaw, at the party's annual conference in November.
He said that as people concerned about the development of the country, and who understand the importance of political parties in the process of development, he was certain that the party would manage the leadership challenge process in a way that would make it proud.
Holness added that transition and development in the political process is inevitable and, as people grow older and new people join the party, change and progress is inevitable and indicative of what is happening across the entire political landscape.
"It so happen that it is happening in the Jamaica Labour Party first, and we must set the standard and set the example of how political transition is done," he stated.
He said that in the leadership transition, younger people will emerge with new ideas, because the parties cannot continue with the old ways of doing things, especially if the old ways have not yielded the results that they would have liked.
"...So, we are not afraid of what is happening. We embrace what is happening, because it shows that there is growth and regeneration in the party, and that new people are going to emerge with new ideas, new vision and new ways of doing things that will improve the quality of life of our country," he said.
"We want it to happen and we want it to happen quickly, because we have to return our attention to the business of the country: Contest or no contest, the business of the country must go on, and as leader of the Opposition and leader of the JLP, it is my role, my job and my responsibility to give oversight to what the Government is doing, and to hold the Government accountable, and I will continue to do that," he added.
Holness said he had no intention of using up his energy in internal fighting, as he would continue to take on "the bad Government of the People's National Party".
"So, if there are those who want to burn up their energy in fighting internally, I am not joining you. Our energy must be reserved for holding the Government of Jamaica accountable, and that's what we will do," he said.
However, he told the audience that challenges were nothing new to him, as his life and history was one of challenges.
"But, my story is also one of overcoming challenges, and I have overcome many challenges to be able to stand in front of you today, at my age. So, bring on one more challenge, because all it will do is make me stronger. But, at the end of the day, it is not about me, it is about you and I want to serve you," he said.
Holness urged the delegates and supporters to approach the leadership process with "the respect and decorum that is expected of a political party that will form the next Government".