Slate could further divide UPP, Lovell says

Harold Lovell (File photo).

There will be no release of any slate of candidates supporting political leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP) Harold Lovell in his bid to continue leading the party.

Lovell made the revelation after a post began making the rounds on social media earlier this week, showing some of the party’s members who are throwing their support behind Senator Richard Lewis, who is mounting a challenge for the leadership.

Among those on Lewis’s slate are Public Relations Officer Damani Tabor, Dwight Shaw, Vaughn Conner, along with Gregory Athill, Trevor Young and Kyron Simon – the last three being members who contested seats on the UPP’s behalf during the 2018 elections.

Lewis also made a bid for the St John’s Rural West Constituency, which was formerly held by former prime minister and former UPP leader, Baldwin Spencer.

But Lovell is of the view that should he release a slate of candidates it could cause division within the party, as has happened before.

“In 2015 I had a slate and Joanne Massiah had a slate, and a lot of people came to me afterwards and said this slate thing is not a good idea. It creates camps within the party in a way that sometimes it makes healing more difficult.

“So I have taken the decision not to do a slate,” he told OBSERVER media on Friday. “I am going to look at the best talent that emerges out of the UPP and let the people rally behind the best talent.”

Lovell added that the leadership contest between himself and Lewis shows that democracy is alive and well in the UPP.

“This is our second election in a matter of four years. You challenge the other parties that are out there, when was the last time they had an election? When was the last time that they looked to their members and said, ‘we think, maybe not the leader, treasurer or chairman’? When was the last time they got their membership involved in the process of choosing the persons who will be responsible for the political and administrative governance of their party?” the UPP political leader queried.

Meanwhile, three UPP foundation members, namely Spencer, Willmoth Daniel and Hilson “Brother B” Baptiste, are appealing to members who are vying for executive positions to act with a sense of “maturity” and “responsibility”.

In a press statement released yesterday and endorsed by “the following senior and distinguished members of the United Progressive Party – The Hon Jamale Pringle, Leader of the Opposition; Dr Jacqui Quinn, former MP and Minister of Government; Justin L. Simon, QC, former Attorney-General & Minister; Dame Hazelyn Francis, former President of the Senate” – the earlier mentioned trio advocate for the wider membership to conduct themselves with “restraint” and “decorum”.

The three former members of Parliament noted that “support for any nominee must never compromise the decency and integrity for which the UPP is known”.

The former government ministers further reminded those members vying for positions that following the elections “all winners will be expected to work together in the interest of the Party and the country.”

All three men gave an active and firm commitment to safeguard not only the legacy of the UPP, but ensuring the party itself remains a cohesive, respected and viable entity.

The UPP Convention is set for February 23rd and 24th.