Senators to get JLP nod in Clarendon

Party looking to Morgan, Charles Jr to replace veteran politicians

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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PARLIAMENTARY secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Robert Nesta Morgan seems set to be named the next Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) representative for Clarendon North Central, while Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, who was also a contender for the seat, appears to be heading to Clarendon South Eastern.

JLP sources yesterday said that the party's secretariat is to make the announcement shortly, after extensive discussions aimed at preventing what was shaping up to be a bitter battle over who is to replace Pearnel Charles Sr as the party's standard-bearer in Clarendon North Central.

“This seems like Dr Chang has pulled off a major coup and has prevented any fallout in a constituency we have to retain if we are to continue to form the Government after the next general election,” a JLP insider told the Jamaica Observer, as he hailed the work of the party's General Secretary Dr Horace Chang.

“It was clear Pearnel wanted his son to replace him, but there are Labourites in the constituency saying, 'No more Charles'. In addition, Nesta is a youth from the constituency with family members still living there, so he is accepted as one of their own.

“And it is not a bad move to replace Ruddy (Rudyard Spencer), who is a union man, with the son of one of the island's greatest union leaders in [Clarendon] south east. It is also a constituency which has produced two prime ministers (Sir Alexander) Bustamante and (Hugh) Shearer, so it is a good seat for a young man going places,” added the JLP insider.

Chang has refused to comment on the reports, telling the Observer the party will make an announcement shortly. The general secretary also refused to confirm or deny that the two political veterans, Charles Sr and Spencer, would not be seeking re-election.

Spencer has held the Clarendon South Eastern seat for the JLP since 2002, and won by almost 1,000 votes in the last general election.

Charles Sr has repeatedly hinted that he has contested his last general election, having also held the Clarendon North Central seat since 2002. In the 2011 General Election, he won by 1,836 votes but saw his winning margin decline to 536 in the last general election.

Since it became clear that the elder Charles was preparing to call it a day, the JLP support in the constituency has been split between those calling for his son and those backing Morgan.

It appeared that the contest would get ugly last year, following allegations by both sets of supporters, with many Labourites taking strong positions in demanding that their candidate be given the nod.

But with the agreement reportedly brokered by Chang designed to ensure that there is no rift, it is now to be seen if the JLP supporters will line up behind the man from Wood Hall in the constituency.


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