Former parliamentarian Joslyn Whiteman, has remained tight-lipped about the outcome of a meeting held recently with Political Leader of the ruling New National Party (NNP), Prime Minister, Keith Mitchell on the candidate for St. David in the upcoming general election.
Whiteman confirmed to THE NEW TODAY newspaper that there was a meeting with Dr. Mitchell following his public utterances that the incumbent Minister for Economic Development, Oliver Joseph should not be the NNP candidate.
“Whatever meeting we had with the Prime Minister has to remain confidential,” he said.
However, Whiteman told this newspaper Tuesday that he remains committed “to offering myself as an alternative, (candidate) if the current representative has to run.”
According to a party insider, Prime Minister Mitchell urged Whiteman in the meeting to rethink his position “in the interest of the country”.
Whiteman is said to have told PM Mitchell that he is sticking to his position to offer up himself as an independent candidate to the people of St. David as better alternative than Joseph if the NNP is going forward once more with him.
Whiteman told another local media entity that Joseph told him personally that he does not enjoy the work of Member of Parliament for St. David but had no problem with being a government minister.
Whiteman won the St. David’s seat for the NNP in its clean sweep of the polls in 1999 but lost out on other attempts in 1990, 1995 and 2003.
The former Ambassador to China has been a close political ally of PM Mitchell after he took control of NNP in a leadership fight with then Political Leader and Prime Minister, H.A Blaize in 1989.
Whiteman returned home permanently about 30 years ago after working for decades in the insurance industry in London.
Party insiders had identified him as a major financial contributor to the NNP in the 1990 general election, in which the party managed to win only two seats.
Whiteman was appointed High Commissioner to London for the period 2004-2005, after he lost the St. David constituency to Congress candidate, the late Michael Denis Lett in the 2003 poll.
Speculation is rife that some NNP members are concerned about the growing influence of the candidate from the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Adrian “Persuader” Thomas in St. David.
Sources close to Joseph quote him as saying that he expects to be named among the last five outstanding Caretakers to be announced shortly by the party with the upcoming election in mind.
Joseph was selected by the NNP as its candidate for the 2013 poll as a later replacement for the late Gabriel Henry who had to be pulled out from the race following a domestic abuse issue that resulted in police intervention.