Sense of urgency in PNP camp
The Gleaner has been informed that the Paul-Burke-led secretariat of the People's National Party (PNP) is being very vigilant as it monitors the ongoing enumeration programme of the party.
At the same time, The Gleaner was told that there is a sense of urgency to ensure that all 63 candidates to run on the PNP ticket are in place ahead of its annual conference scheduled for September 18 to 20.
With less than three weeks to go before the PNP ushers loyalists and supporters into what looks like the last confab before the next general election, Burke has given himself two extra weeks to finalise the selection process for all constituencies.
Burke disclosed yesterday that the selection process should be completed by September 12. "All candidates will be in place for the annual conference," was the response to Gleaner queries.
Assessing mobilisation efforts
Well-placed insiders said that apart from watching to see how the annual conference, the largest decision-making organ of the PNP, pans out, as the party changes gear into election mode, it is assessing how its mobilisation efforts are doing on the ground.
According to Dayton Campbell, first-term member of parliament for North West St Ann, "The constituency conferences have been great and have provided an opportunity for us to speak to the base of the party.
He added: "The message has found fertile soil and the Comrades are in high spirits. I believe that we will be able to win the next election with a similar margin to the one we currently hold."
Even so, The Gleaner understands that the PNP secretariat is monitoring the enumeration levels as at the end of September. This, insiders say, is to determine whether it is better than the phase that was finished in March, for which that list was published May. The September list is to be finalised on November 30.
Last month, Burke told The Gleaner that the secretariat had signed off on new selection guidelines and processes.
"All the different aspirants have been advised and we have started appraisal interviews," he said.
"I expect that all will be completed by the end of the week so that, come August, we can start doing selection conferences in instances where there is more than one aspirant."
He explained that selection will be done for all 63 constituencies next month, but estimated that fewer than 10 will require extra attention. "It will not exceed 10, where there is more than one aspirant," he said.
South East St Ann, the seat of Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna; North East St Elizabeth, represented by Raymond Pryce, and Hugh Buchanan's South West St Elizabeth seat have been thrown in the spotlight, because of challenges to their candidacy in the next general election.