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Jamaica’s Opposition Party Members Close Ranks Behind Leader

Leader of Jamaica's main opposition People’s National Party (PNP), Dr. Peter Phillips.

Jamaica’s Opposition Party Members Close Ranks Behind Leader

KINGSTON, Jamaica, June 10, 2020 (CMC) – The main opposition, the People’s National Party (PNP), said it remains “re-energised and united”, following a meeting, on Monday night, to discuss the future of the party, as it prepares for the next general election.

At least 14 PNP legislators had written to Opposition Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips, demanding a meeting on the future of the party, and a statement, issued following the discussions, noted that the 29-member parliamentary group held “frank and constructive dialogue”, as they advanced plans for the upcoming general elections.

The “leadership issue is settled … so we are all behind the leader,” said former National Security Minister, Peter Bunting, who was one of the signatories of the letter.

Bunting, who, last year, had challenged Phillips for the leadership of the Party, said the authors of the letter had never envisaged removing Phillips from the post, and accused unnamed people of spinning its contents to “create more heat than light”.

“But we are now ready to restore the light and turn down the heat,” he added.

Bunting’s views were echoed by Mark Golding, the St. Andrew South Member of Parliament, who also signed the letter. He told reporters there is no dispute over the leadership of the PNP, and that his colleagues have been engaged in constructive dialogue, with a view to coming out victorious at the end of the polls.

“What we are seeking and what we are getting, is good dialogue around what it is going to take to win. We want to win, we believe we should win, and we can win. The dialogue that we now have is going to ensure that we win,” Golding said.

PNP General-Secretary, Julian Robinson, described the meeting as “excellent”, adding “some of the persons, who wrote the letter…spoke frankly”.

He said that some of the signatories spoke of the need for unity within the PNP, and for it to come together, as it prepares for elections.

“We have put in place, candidates very early; and we have put in place, plans in those seats. We are working towards a specific approach and strategy,” Robinson said, adding “we are working on improving our communications and rolling out a communications plan”.

In its statement, the PNP said that Monday night’s meeting also discussed the challenges to the Jamaican economy, which it promised to address, as the next government.

Phillips told the meeting that the national campaign will be re-imagined, targeting all avenues of media channels and platforms, including all digital spaces, as the party is now election-ready, and the base of supporters is well-motivated.

“With an incompetent government and the breakdown of good governance, as demonstrated in the handling of the education portfolio, the economy and national security, the Jamaican people are rightfully looking to the PNP to stand up for them,” Phillips told the meeting.

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