FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Senator Dennis Meadows is eagerly awaiting the ratification of his application for membership in the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP).
Meadows, who vied unsuccessfully on the JLP’s ticket to become the parliamentary representative for the Trelawny Northern constituency on three occasions, recently parted ways with the ruling party.
Speaking with reporters at the PNP’s Falmouth Divisional Conference at Falmouth Primary School on Sunday night, Meadows said: “I have applied to the party (and) there is a process to that, which I must respect. My decision was not taken lightly. My decision to join the People’s National Party, leaving a party that I have served most of my life, was not taken lightly. Therefore, I did it for the greater good of this country. I am always not party first; I am guided by principle, I support people,” Meadows said.
Clad in an orange and white shirt, Meadows, who received a warm welcome from scores of PNP supporters when he arrived at the divisional meeting, reportedly also got a similar reception when he turned up at the PNP’s Sherwood Content Divisional Conference in Duanvale the night before.
He made it clear that if given the nod his immediate interest is not for representing the PNP at the polls, but to demonstrate his ability to work during the upcoming campaign leading up to the next local government elections.
“I don’t come to the party with no sense of entitlement to run seat — that is not my primary goal. My primary goal is to do a body of work, starting with the local government election because I believe that that must be the beginning of the end of governmental corruption, the beginning of the end of governmental arrogance, the beginning of the end of governmental vindictiveness. And that is my goal — working for the PNP, putting my shoulders to the wheel to ensure victory for the People’s National Party,” he said.
He added that after he has demonstrated his work ethic and hopefully impresses the hierarchy of the party, he would oblige if he is offered the opportunity to be a standard-bearer for the party.
“ I am always an ambitious person but that is not my focus. I am prepared to do a body of work and anybody knows me, ask the very PNP, when I ran against them my work ethics and tenacity when it comes to doing the work has never been in question. That is what I want to do. If a seat comes down the road, that is a consequence, not an objective,” he declared.
When quizzed, the former JLP representative said he anticipated the favourable response he got from the PNP supporters on both Saturday and Sunday nights.
“To be honest with you I did [expect that response] because I have always enjoyed tremendous support and respect among People’s National Party [supporters]. If you check me, most of my associates and friends are PNP — and that speaks to my own sense of non-tribalism. Tribalism has not been a part of my forte and I don’t care which party you support. If you are my friend, you are my friend. I feel more love and respect in the PNP in two days than I have received in the JLP a lifetime,” he stated.
“I found myself fighting off my own colleagues, own members of the JLP, than fighting the Opposition. It’s good sense that I join the Opposition,” he added.
Meadows is a former board member of the Firearm Licensing Authority and convenor of civil society group, Citizens’ Actions for Principle and Integrity (CAPI).
He was accused by FLA CEO Shane Dalling as one of several officials who granted gun permits to people with criminal convictions or adverse traces.