WATCH: It's now 'Showa Kari Douglas'! PNP councillor crosses floor
Combination of photos showing councillor Kari Douglas after crossing the floor of the KSAMC to become a member of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party. At left she is pictured decked out in green, the colour of the JLP, while at right she flashes the JLP's 'V' sign immediately after crossing the aisle.
Outspoken Councillor for the Trafalgar division in St Andrew, Kari Douglas dramatically crossed the floor of the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) on Tuesday and is now a member of the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
“I hereby confirm that I have elected to leave the People's National Party (PNP) to continue serving my country as a member of the Jamaica Labour Party,” Douglas, the daughter of late former Cabinet Minister Easton Douglas, said afterwards in a statement.
The effusive praise that she heaped upon Prime Minister Andrew Holness and the JLP in the lengthy statement delivers another body blow to the PNP. This, with a general election expected this year and with the PNP still struggling to put up a united front in the wake of last years’ bruising presidential battle.
Douglas, who had allegedly been sidelined since she backed Peter Bunting’s Rise United campaign in his failed presidential bid, said she has now embarked a “new dispensation of my political journey”.
The move has increased the majority for the JLP in the KSAMC by one to 22 and reduced the PNP to 18. The development is significant since the KSAMC is the most influential of the local authorities.
Douglas is no stranger to controversy.
In October, she abruptly announced her decision to resign as the ranking member of the KSAMC’s Building and Town Planning Committee. She stated then that her fellow comrades had indicated an unwillingness to work with her because she had backed Bunting against Dr Peter Phillips in the presidential race which culminated last September with Phillips staving off the Bunting challenge by a mere 76 votes.
Kari Douglas smiles as she takes her seat at the KSAMC after crossing the floor.
Then last November, Douglas stirred further controversy when she was involved in a reported dust-up with a doctor at the Bustamante Hospital for Children where she had taken her son for treatment.
The stand-off led to a hours-long shut-down of the hospital’s accident and emergency department and led to a rebuke from her party. She later apologised for her action.
In her statement, Douglas said that for some time she has been “deeply concerned that her former party has become a political organisation which is primarily focused on winning elections at any cost, as opposed to pursuing an unswerving commitment to national development and in that process listening to the people and creating policies to meet their needs.
“My former political party has also for sometime not been a space where creative ideas, especially the thoughts of young people, are encouraged and treated seriously. I have decided that enough is enough,” Douglas stated.
She is concerned that given the “tribal nature” of the country’s politics and her political antecedence, her decision to leave the PNP could cause her former comrades to become vindictive. As such, she said the decision was not an easy one.
She has nonetheless heaped praised on the leadership style of Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Said Douglas: “I must indicate that given the dynamic leadership with a positive difference that Prime Minister Holness has been able to offer the country and the JLP over the past few years, I am certain and in absolutely no doubt that I have made the right decision”.
She was not done with praising the JLP and its leader.
“There are many people across Jamaica, especially young people who have had a re-awakening of their political views due to the Prime Minister and JLP Leader's refreshing approach to politics and steering the reins of Government in a manner which puts the interest of the people first and also is not afraid to hold accountable public officials who step out of line,” Douglas added.
“I am one of the many who have had to decisively re-think past political ideologies and affiliation. Today I am happy to announce that I have made a decision in the interest of my country,” she said.
The former comrade has vowed to continue “practising the kind of political representation I always have, that is seeking to secure the interest of the people of Jamaica regardless of their political persuasion or the 'colour' of their politics”.
“Even as I remain Councillor for the Trafalgar Division, I look forward to making my contribution to the Prime Minister and the JLP's exciting vision of building a new Jamaica which is prosperous for all,” Douglas stated.