A pastor is among three people seeking to become the candidate for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the Ewarton Division in St. Catherine North West, said Newton Amos, the JLP’s constituency chairman and caretaker.
He told The Beacon that the two aspirants already interviewed are Tity Bailey and Pastor Dean Reid who heads the Ewarton Gospel Lighthouse.
In relation to the third candidate, Amos said: “The person has applied for membership of the party, but I can’t give the name because his documentation is not forwarded to me…
“Mr. Reid and Mr. Bryan have already gone to the JLP headquarters for their interviews… In fact, I sat on that panel and listened, so I know what is happening. I think they are two good candidates. These are people that are known, and I am expecting good support for them. Their chances in winning for the first time in the Ewarton Division – there is a very strong possibility,” Amos further posited.
He expects the JLP to select the candidate this month.
Amos said he wants the process to be completed with the aspirants being united. In that same breath, he is trying to remain neutral.
He said: “All of the JLP persons who applied – I told all of them that they have my support until the party makes a decision as to who is selected. When that is done, that person have my full backing. As it is now, I can’t go and stand up behind any one person when there are more than one application, because I do not want my position to split support to either candidates.
“I don’t want this candidate to go and fight against the other, and it may end up that one set doesn’t vote for the other [in the Local Government Election]. That’s not what I want. I want everybody to be together. I run a unified constituency. I don’t have a problem with my constituency; we are not like the PNP that is fighting in and out. We don’t do that. It can’t happen in my constituency, because I am the chairman and I set an example. I don’t go around quarreling with people; I tell you my mind,” Amos further commented.
He said the JLP will present the division with a mature candidate who is capable of inspiring change in political leadership in Ewarton Division.
Amos added: “We have too many young people involved in crime and violence in Ewarton and its environs. We need people who are mature enough to, when they talk to people and try to guide them, people will respond likewise rather than have an institution like the police and the army have to come in to do that. We need community people who can intervene; we need local intervention.”
The JLP’s candidate in the last two Local Government Elections in the Ewarton Division was Millholland Barker.
He lost on both occasions, but significantly increased his total number of votes and narrowed the margin of victory secured by his opponent, Beverly Jobson-Grant, of the People’s National Party (PNP).
Jobson-Grant, who is retiring from representational politics, has been replaced by Donald Tinling Jr. as the new PNP candidate in Ewarton.
Amos, in the meantime, said there are indications that Barker of the JLP may exit the political scene mainly due to illness.
“I don’t want to make a public statement on it as yet, but, in all likelihood, Mr. Barker will not be the candidate for Ewarton in the next parish council elections. Mr. Barker has become ill; he is not keeping good health and he had indicated to me that he is not likely to continue because of his health,” Amos further told The Beacon in his first media interview since he lost the September 3 General Election in St. Catherine North West.
In an an exclusive interview last month, Barker also indicated that he is likely to exit the political scene.
When asked if he will remain the JLP’s candidate, he told The Beacon: “I have to make a decision soon. We have people who can represent just the same – even maybe better than I have. I still have about another three or four months to look at that. My own feeling is that maybe somebody else could [represent the JLP].”
By Horace Mills, Journalist
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