No immediate plans for by-election in Trelawny Southern

FALMOUTH, Trelawny — General secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Dr Horace Chang said there is no immediate plan for a by-election in Trelawny Southern to elect a replacement for Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert who recently resigned as House Speaker and parliamentary representative.

Chang, who is also the deputy prime minister, revealed that mayor of Falmouth, JLP councillor for the Warsop Division, C Junior Gager has been assigned to oversee the seat while a suitable replacement for Dalrymple-Philibert is being sought.

“We are not that far down the road yet,” Chang told the Jamaica Observer in regards to possible plans for a by-election.

“We have the mayor as a stellar councillor down there who will continue representation for the area. He is a successful councillor. The party will continue to make sure the organisation is in shape and provide the kind of service that a political party does.

“We were looking at stabilising the situation and then seek to identify a candidate for the seat. Ms Dalrymple’s resignation was kind of sudden. It is not yet settled but we will have that settled fast. So we will organise for it. We have a clear picture of what they [constituents] want going forward and I am sure we will find a strong capable candidate pretty soon. That’s the first step,” Chang said.

Dalrymple-Philibert stepped aside as Speaker of the House and Member of Parliament (MP) after a ruling by the Integrity Commission’s (IC) Director of Corruption Prosecution Keisha Prince-Kameka that she be charged for allegedly running afoul of the Parliament (Integrity of Members) Act, 1973 in her statutory declarations.

Following her resignation, JLP supporters in the constituency staged a loud march in Albert Town demanding that she reconsider her decision.

Gager; other councillors; minister of state in the Office of the Prime Minister (West), Homer Davis; as well as senior advisor and strategist in the Ministry of Tourism Delano Seiveright were among the JLP functionaries in attendance at the march.

Seiveright’s presence promoted speculation among political pundits that he had interest in representing the JLP in the seat.

But Seiveright told the Observer that he has not applied to the party to be the candidate for the Trelawny Southern nor for any another seat.

“I have not applied for any seat. I’ll continue to focus on serving where I am to the best of my abilities and will continue to do so in many more capacities for as long as possible,” he said.

“Additionally, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert is a friend and one of the best, grounded, and among the hardest working MPs I have ever known. I do pray the situation is resolved soon,” he added.

Dalrymple-Philibert had represented the constituency since 2007.

General secretary of the People’s National Party (PNP) Dr Dayton Campbell has made it clear that his party’s focus is now on the general and local government polls and not any by-election in Trelawny Southern.

“Our focus is really on having our candidates in place. I am of the view that the prime minister will call a general election before the illicit six are named. That’s my opinion. I don’t believe he is going to allow those persons to be named, especially with the precedence that Dalrymple-Philibert would have set — that you resign not only from whatever position you have in the Parliament or in the executive but also from the constituency,” Campbell said after a recent meeting of the PNP’s National Executive Council (NEC) in Albert Town, Trelawny.