Wed | Apr 8, 2020

Holness hints Lambert is PNP’s hidden hand in by-election

Published:Monday | February 17, 2020 | 12:22 AM
Derrick Lambert, the Clarendon South East independent candidate who formerly represented the People's National Party in the 2011 general election.
Derrick Lambert, the Clarendon South East independent candidate who formerly represented the People's National Party in the 2011 general election.

As the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) continues to gear up for the March 2 by-election in Clarendon South East, leader Andrew Holness has warned supporters not to be complacent as he believes the People’s National Party (PNP) has a hidden hand in the contest although it has publicly said that it will not field a candidate.

The PNP’s Patricia Duncan Sutherland said she would not contest the by-election as she was preparing for a general election due 2021 but widely expected to be called later this year. However, Holness, who is also the prime minister, hinted that the PNP’s withdrawal from the process was a ruse to lull Labourites into being ambushed by a Trojan horse.

“I want you to take this election very seriously. As far as I am concerned, this election is not going to be a walkover. The PNP has said they are not going to contest this election. All that means is everything but name; the PNP will be contesting this election. We just won’t see the name,” Holness told supporters as he made an appeal for the party’s workers to cover their bases.

“I go as far as to say that you might still see the colour and you won’t see the symbol on the ballot, but they might find something that look very close to that symbol. So, don’t be fooled!” the JLP leader continued.

He was speaking at the JLP Area Council Three meeting at Vere Technical High School in Clarendon yesterday.

Pearnel Charles Jr was nominated by the JLP last week and will face Derrick Lambert, an independent, on the ballot.

Lambert formerly ran on a PNP ticket in the 2011 general election, losing by 107 votes to then incumbent Rudyard Spencer, who polled 8,843 votes. Lambert tallied 8,736.

Holness said the party must be motivated to triumph in the upcoming by-election.

“I am treating this election like my life depends on it. That is how seriously I am taking it,” he said.

NEW ERA OF POLITICS

The JLP leader told supporters, standard-bearers, members of parliament, and key JLP organisers that so-called safe seats are being challenged in the modern era of politics and that uncommitted voters are tipping the scales.

“Central Kingston, PNP seat, Eastern Portland, PNP seat – you have the title fi that – not respecting the fact that you have people who live there with their own views and perspectives, people who have their own feelings about issues, and those must be respected and not written off, not be treated as less people going to the polls when the bell is rung or trumpet sounded,” he said.

“There is no Pied Piper today. Every voter is going to be exercising their own volition, and any political organisation that continues to be casual, if not disrespectful, about that, they are going to end up on the rubbish heap of history,” Holness further said.

Turning to JLP candidate Charles Jr, Holness said it was important for him to meet with the voters directly as he set out to cast his presence on the constituency.

“Young Pearnel, you must make it your duty to walk every street, go to every church, go to every school, go to every event, and meet the people ..., hear their views,” he urged.