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PNP general secretary calls for tribunal to settle internal disputes

Published:Sunday | September 20, 2015 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue
Outgoing MP for North East St Elizabeth, Raymond Pryce, entering the delegates session of the People's National Party's annual conference yesterday.

Despite claims from party president, Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, that mechanisms are in place to deal with the number of nasty conflicts within the ranks of the People's National Party (PNP), a senior member has called for the urgent establishment of an internal mediation tribunal.

The PNP's General Secretary Paul Burke made the call yesterday in his report to the business session of the PNP's 77th annual conference.

According to Burke, the PNP should "develop and implement early and effective mediation interventions, with the aim of preventing the many internal conflicts, some of which have hit the media and the public domain".

For the first time since the challenge to Simpson Miller's leadership in 2008, the party has seen several challenges to incumbent members of parliament, with Raymond Pryce pulling out of the race to retain his place as the party's standard-bearer for the St Elizabeth North East constituency after a bitter squabble.

Last week, Pryce's colleague MP, Lloyd B. Smith, suffered a blow after he failed to gather the support of two-thirds of the delegates in his Central St James constituency. However, Smith will have a second chance to be the party's candidate, but will face at least three challengers in a selection contest.

Another MP, Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, lost his bid to remain as the party's candidate in East Portland, while over in St Ann South East, Lisa Hanna is in a dogfight with sitting councillor, Lydia Richards, who wants to replace her.


Portia blamed


Some political commentators have blamed Simpson Miller for failing to take charge and quiet the disputes, but she has argued that the internal organs of the PNP are in place to deal with any issue.

According to Simpson Miller, the PNP is not run by a don, and she was satisfied that the internal democratic process is at work.

Yesterday's delegates session of the PNP's annual conference saw Comrades pouring into the National Area from as early as 9:30 a.m.

By 11:30 a.m. a large crowd had backed up at the entrance of the arena, with members of the security forces out in large numbers searching persons as they entered the arena.