JLP not pushing veterans to retire – Chang

JLP not pushing veterans to retire – Chang


Sunday, February 23, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — As the island's major political parties move to install standard-bearers in constituencies in preparation for the next general election, general secretary of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Dr Horace Chang, says none of the party's sitting Members of Parliament (MP) had indicated that they would not be contesting the upcoming polls.

There have long been calls for some of the party's veteran politicians, including Central Clarendon MP Mike Henry, who turns 85 in June, and the 78-year-old minister with responsibility for education, Karl Samuda, to retire, and make way for younger representatives.

And with the recent resignation of the 76-year-old Rudyard Spencer in the constituency of Clarendon South Eastern to make way for Pearnel Charles Jr, speculation is rife that Henry and Samuda could also throw in the towel.

Dr Chang told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday that none had indicated that they will be quitting representational politics.

“We haven't received any indication from anyone… and we are not pushing anybody to resign,” said the general secretary.

Meanwhile, Dr Chang, who is also the Member of Parliament for St James North Western, said the party is looking at winning at least 12 of the 16 parliamentary seats in the party's Area Council Four, which covers the parishes of Trelawny, St James, Hanover, Westmoreland, and St Elizabeth, in the next general election.

In the 2016 General Election, the JLP won nine of those seats — Trelawny Southern, St James East Central, St James North Western, St James West Central, St James Central, Hanover Eastern, St Elizabeth South West, St Elizabeth North West, and St Elizabeth South East, while the People's National Party won the remaining seven.

But, Dr Chang told the Sunday Observer that his party believes that it can win an additional three seats in the upcoming polls.

“We believe we can increase the number to 12, and so we will be targeting an additional three seats,” he said, declining to name the three parliamentary seats.

He added that the party has finalised all, but one, standard-bearer, for the seats in Area Council Four.

The outstanding constituency – Westmoreland Eastern – is expected to be filled within another two weeks, according to the general secretary.

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