PJ was involved
DELANO FRANKLYN, the People's National Party (PNP) campaign spokesman, has confirmed that former president of the organisation P.J. Patterson had "dialogue" with North Trelawny political functionaries days before John-Paul White stepped aside as the candidate in the upcoming general election.
Speaking at the party's press briefing yesterday, Franklyn declined to divulge the nature of the talks with the influential former politician, but insisted that White was not coerced into pulling out as the PNP standard-bearer.
"The former party leader has been in the constituency in recent times, but I don't know if I can stretch it to being instrumental," said Franklyn in response to queries from journalists at yesterday's PNP press briefing.
"What I do know is that the former party leader, like other leaders, do know many of the leaders on the ground and would have had discussions with many of them," he added.
Victor Wright has been selected to be nominated on Tuesday as the PNP candidate in North Trelawny. "He was the assistant campaign manager to J.P. White [and] he lives in the constituency. In other words, he is a 'man a yard', a real man a yard, born and bred in that particular constituency," said Franklyn.
$17 million TAX DEBT
The PNP's campaign spokesman said that while White is good with the Tax Administration of Jamaica and arrangements are in place to clear the $17 million tax debt, he had decided to take a break based on his assessment of the situation.
He added that based on discussions with the PNP leadership, White decided that, in all circumstances, it would be best to withdraw his candidature at this time.
"If it is a part of the public discussion, and to the extent that it has occupied the two leading newspapers' front pages for two or three days, is something that the candidate would have taken into consideration - how that is impacting on him, the constituency and the party," Franklyn said.
Added Franklyn: "It was proving to be too much of a distraction to the constituency and the work to be done as well as the PNP and the campaign."
Reacting to claims by Jamaica Labour Party standard-bearer Dennis Meadows that he is not daunted by the change in PNP candidate, Franklyn said: "North Trelawny is a strong PNP constituency and we will win that constituency on the day of election."