Labourites hyped for ‘conference to remember’
Having dropped several hints that it is about to shift gears into election mode, there will be high anticipation surrounding the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) 76th annual conference on Sunday.
Party leader Andrew Holness and other senior officials have been whipping up ground support in recent weeks, urging the public to return his party to government at the next general election, which is constitutionally due by 2021.
But as that date draws closer, Holness is expected to use the annual conference to press the case for a second term while rebuffing criticism from the Opposition.
The JLP has billed the conference as ‘One Government, One JLP … One Good Term Deserves Another, Build Jamaica’.
Prime minister of Grenada, Dr Keith Mitchell, will be the guest speaker.
Holness told the West Kingston annual conference last Sunday that the party’s big conference would be a celebratory event, putting on a pedestal the party’s achievement since it was elected to office in February 2016.
“It is going to be a conference to remember as this could very well be the last, last conference before we head to the polls. We are not sure because that is the prime minister’s job, but from where I sit, I can tell you it is going to be something special,” a JLP insider close to the organising committee told The Gleaner yesterday.
“It’s not just the regular jump up and down, but we will have tangible things to celebrate, and in fact, the party leader will start to give some details as to why we are saying we deserve a second term in government,” said the JLP source.
Besides encouraging a show of force from “every single Labourite, rockstone Labourite, Busta Labourite ... turn-back and come-back Labourite, ... cuss-cuss Labourite, grass-root Labourite,” Holness has also extended an invitation to members of the Opposition People’s National Party to attend.
JLP stalwarts who have died this year, among them former leader Edward Seaga, Ken Baugh, and Douglas Vaz, are expected to be honoured at the conference.