‘He was very unpopular’
MAY PEN, Clarendon— Clarendon North Central Member of Parliament Robert Morgan has sought to downplay the significance of Councillor Romaine Morris (Jamaica Labour Party, Mocho Division, Clarendon) crossing the floor on Thursday.
According to Morgan, the JLP had no intention of choosing Morris as its candidate for the looming local government polls.
“Based on what was happening in the division and a poll which showed that he was very unpopular, the party decided to hold a selection. The selection was held on December 16 and the delegates voted against him, so he was not set to represent the party in the next Local Government Election,” Morgan told the Jamaica Observer.
An internal JLP document seen by the Observer appears to support Morgan’s claims.
A November 2023 candidate poll summary for the Mocho Division painted a very unflattering picture of Morris.
The poll of 365 participants, which was conducted between November 1 and 11, to get their views on Morris and Clement Alves, showed Morris trailing in every category on the candidate score card, except awareness. Both men were deemed to be equally well-known within the division.
However, when the survey drilled down into Morris’s performance, those polled were of the view that he “demonstrates low overall performance, [and] the community is not of the impression he works well with the MP [Morgan]”.
“Only a handful of clear strengths were identified in Romaine Morris’s leadership. Over 40 per cent of the respondents were mum, while a few praised him for specifics,” said the report. “There’s a widespread call for substantial improvements in every aspect, indicating a complete shortfall in his leadership abilities throughout the community.”
During Thursday’s monthly meeting of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation Morris announced that, effective immediately, he was switching political allegiance from the governing party to the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP).
Wearing an orange tie and white shirt under a grey suit, Morris stood boldly to make his announcement. Orange is the colour used by the PNP.
“I have a letter for the CEO that it is my intention to change political alignment, to change political affiliation, to change political leaning and direction and ties. I want to inform this honourable house… that today is the day. It’s time for change, and change is good. Time come for me, Mr Chairman, to move away from supporting the Jamaica Labour Party to supporting the People’s National Party. I wish to put it on record today,” he said.
He was warmly welcomed to the other side by the minority leader, Councillor Scean Barnswell (PNP, Hayes Division) and other Comrades in the room.