The much hyped race for leadership of the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) has ended with a whopping delegate majority of 692 votes for Andrew Holness . Holness retained his Party’s leadership over Audley Shaw the member of Parliament with portfolio for Finance. Final vote tally according to the Jamaican Papers was Holness 2’702 Shaw 2’012. Many in the Jamaica Labor Party as well as observers on the outside felt the leadership race was a bad thing for the JLP. I disagreed, the idea of a challenge to the selected leader of the JLP was not necessarily something Laborites are used to. In fact it has been antithetical to the JLP and may actually be part of the reason that party only held office for 12 of the last 40 years.
As is to be expected most of the members who supported mister Shaw’s candidacy for leadership of the party have tendered their resignations to mister Holness. This is common protocol in cases such as these. The explanation is that, it gives the leader the opportunity to select a team he/she has confidence in. This is however a momentous occasion for Andrew Holness to ask mister Shaw and those who supported him who would like to stay on , to remain and help to rebuild and make the party stronger. Magnanimity is a virtue he can ill-afford not to use. It is imperative that Mister Holness stand true to his words that he was unafraid of a challenge. Real leaders are not perturbed by challenges, they are a testament to one’s own strength and support structure.
Now that mister Shaw and his acolytes have had their say it is incumbent that if asked, they fall in line and subject themselves to the authority of the newly elected Andrew Holness and the direction in which he wants to take the country. At the start of this exercise I quietly told a few friends that even though I am not opposed to Audley Shaw, I was hoping for a Holness win . I believe the delegates have sent a strong message , which reinforces that one does not have to dumb down to be a leader. One does not have to resort to so called (ray ray) [sic]to compete in Jamaican politics. I believe that the labor party’s delegates have wittingly/or unwittingly made the right decision for their party and for Jamaica. I asked one senior Jamaican how he felt about the race between the two men he rather quickly told me that Audley Shaw couldn’t even run the gas station he owned , how could anyone expect him to run a country.
He went on to tell me that Shaw ran a petrol station he owned into the ground.(no independent verification to the veracity of this claim). I wondered aloud to him whether this placed any real question mark against mister Shaw’s ability to lead the country? My friend forthrightly asked me whether I believed Portia did not know this and would use it to clobber Shaw. The icing on the cake of that conversation was when he asked me why did Bruce Golding bring Don Wedhy from the private sector to understudy Shaw when he appointed him minister of finance?
I believe both men and their different camps need to now come together and for the good of the country chart a path forward that the nation can gravitate toward. It is an existential need that they do so and get it right for the good of the country. PS I was not surprised that Delroy Chuck has intimated to Andrew Holness that he does not wish to be considered for any post in a new shadow cabinet. That should be rather good for Andrew Holness, Delroy Chuck should simply go over to the PNP.