Romaine Morris, councillor-candidate for the Mocho Division in Clarendon, is surprised by a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) announcement on Friday (February 9) he was expelled from the organisation, having already resigned a month prior.
Morris slammed the JLP for what he called a “desperate attempt by political operatives to impede the momentum gained by the PNP in the division”.
“I resigned from the chairmanship of the Mocho Division and the JLP about a month ago and as such, did not nominate while a sitting member of JLP. My resignation was with immediate effect, so I was surprised to learn that I was expelled from an organisation that I have held no membership in for one month,” said Morris.
Seemingly hinting at his public spat with JLP Member of Parliament for North Central Clarendon, Robert Nesta Morgan, Morris claimed that the release from the JLP was inaccurate and a political ploy seeking to cause confusion and smear his character.
“I am and will remain the PNP’s candidate for the Mocho Division and urge my supporters to ignore false statements aimed at confusing the electorate,” stated Morris.
Morris, a former JLP councillor, dramatically crossed the floor of the Clarendon Municipal Corporation in favour of the People’s National Party on January 11.
He then submitted his immediate resignation to chairman of the corporation, Mayor Winston Maragh, and was welcomed by PNP councillors including minority caucus leader Scean Barnswell.
“I am writing you to inform the Clarendon Municipal Corporation of my decision to switch political allegiance for the Jamaica Labour Party to the People’s National Party with immediate effect,” he declared.
Back then, hinting at ‘irreconciliable differences’, the representative told supporters gathered in May Pen that his decision to switch allegiances and occupy the Opposition caucus was based on a recalibration of his views and values.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a lot of work to get done in Mocho. And we can’t make an outgoing Member of Parliament stop that work,” he said.
For its part, the JLP indicated that its decision to expel Morris and six other renegade councillors was in breach of “party regulations” which bars members for turn independent or defecting to another organisation.
The statement further noted that the explusions were necessary to uphold “unity and discipline among its ranks, especially during crucial electoral periods”.
“In line with the party’s regulations, members are prohibited from running against an approved candidate of the Jamaica Labour Party. As such, the actions of these members necessitated their expulsion. The Jamaica Labour Party acknowledges the efforts and contributions of these individuals during their association with the party,” the Friday statement read.
The individuals affected by the JLP decision are:
Nerpatrick Smith – Palmers Cross Division
Omar White – Ritches Division
Eric Wint – Martha Brae Division
Romaine Morris – Mocho Division
Leroy Dunn – Guys Hill Division
Keith McCook – Red Hills Division
George Planto – Papine Division