Port Antonio, Portland:
While the People’s National Party (PNP) has not officially settled on a standard-bearer for Eastern Portland, the options could eventually narrow down to PNP Vice-President Damion Crawford and former Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Donald Rhodd, party insiders told The Gleaner yesterday.
Well-placed PNP party insiders told The Gleaner yesterday that talks with Rhodd broke down after the party’s hierarchy dismissed as too costly his requests, including one for the party to fund his entire campaign.
It is understood that Crawford, who is not currently a constituency caretaker, is in talks with party officials.
The seat for MP in East Portland became vacant following the stabbing death of Bloomfield, whose body was found naked at his Passley Gardens home on February 2 with multiple stab wounds.
A week after Bloomfield’s death, the PNP executive gave the party’s officers permission to select a candidate to contest the by-election in the constituency.
The decision came following reports that a number of Comrades had started to make overtures to the PNP delegates in the constituency in a bid to be selected to contest the by-election in East Portland, a seat the PNP has held since 1989.
No moore love
In the meantime, dozens of Comrades loyal to Andrea Moore are lashing out at signs that the party intends to again snub the attorney, who attempted to get the party’s nod in 2015.
Moore defeated Bloomfield, who was the sitting MP then, in a 2015 internal poll to contest the 2016 general election on the party’s ticket, but the PNP hierarchy overturned the decision of the delegates and returned Bloomfield to contest the election. He retained the seat, defeating the JLP’s Derron Wood by more than 2,000 votes.
“We are going to protest this decision,” Egbert Brown, a PNP supporter from Spring Bank in the constituency, told The Gleaner .
“Labourite (the JLP) putting up a woman to run against us, but yet, still, we are not putting our princess forward,” he said. “Miss Moore is a hard worker, and she loves the people. What has she done for them (the party) not to like her? Bloomfield is gone, so we expect that Miss Moore will lead us into the next election.
“We want Moore or else a straight protest,” he warned.
There are whispers that Moore is considering an injunction in the Supreme Court to bar the party from installing a caretaker for the constituency as a last-ditch attempt to seek an internal election.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has given no indication as to when he intends to send the constituents of Portland East to the polls, though Dr Horace Chang, the JLP’s general secretary, has said that the prime minister would announce a by-election date “soon”.
LINK ORIGINAL: Jamaica Gleaner