Member of Jamaica Parliament for St. Ann North West, Verna Parchment, has officially become the second political representative to quit the Jamaica Labour Party in less than a month.
In a terse letter to JLP general secretary Karl Samuda, issued to the media yesterday, Ms Parchment said: “Poor leadership direction and failure of leadership to act decisively have convinced me that I cannot continue to be a member of the organisation.”
Her resignation now leaves the JLP with 24 MPs to the governing People’s National Party’s 33 – with the departure last month of former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson.
In an interview with The Gleaner on Tuesday, Ms. Parchment said her concerns were manifested in what she considered Mr. Samuda’s attempts to denigrate her performance in her constituency at the same time that party leader Bruce Golding was attempting to convince her not to leave.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) I met with Mr. Golding and his wife who both requested that I reconsider my decision to resign from the JLP,” Ms. Parchment said. “I have done so and now advise that I resign with immediate effect.”
Stating that she had become highly disillusioned with the party leadership and its ability to deal with MPs in a frank and open way, Ms. Parchment indicated that she would continue to serve her constituency as an Independent MP.
Abe Dabdoub, MP for St. Catherine North Eastern, had earlier become an Independent after announcing his resignation from the JLP on March 12.
Mr. Dabdoub, who was also critical of the party’s leadership, has already indicated an interest in joining the governing PNP and reports have circulated that Ms. Parchment wishes to do the same.
However, Maureen Webber, PNP Deputy General Secretary, said yesterday evening that the party has not received correspondence on the matter from Ms. Parchment.
Yesterday Mr. Samuda scoffed at Ms. Parchment’s letter, labelling her stated concerns “abject nonsense” and accusing her of attempting to turn the focus on himself rather than her poor performance in the constituency.
“To try to blame the leadership of the party is certainly to try and rewrite history in terms of her representation,” Mr. Samuda told The Gleaner. He said the truth could be told by Ms. Parchment’s disgruntled constituents with whom she has worked and served.
However Ms. Parchment, in her letter, said the problems encountered in her constituency had more to do with probity among members than her representation. She said Mr. Samuda, while criticising her, had failed to mention her complaints to the party’s Dispute Resolution Committee, which she said were yet to be dealt with.
Though not going into detail, Mr. Samuda said the matters raised at the committee had in fact been addressed.
“My recollection is that the results of that investigation were not very complimentary to Ms. Parchment,” he said while claiming she had “fallen out badly” with the team with which she was working.