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'I'm being targeted' - Burke claims Hanna misguided as no-confidence motion brought to NEC

Published:Monday | April 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson
Paul Burke

Claiming that he's being "targeted", Paul Burke, the embattled People's National Party (PNP) general secretary, says a motion of no confidence brought against him yesterday by Region One Chairman Lisa Hanna is misguided for reasons he is refusing to state publicly.

Burke's stewardship of the secretariat of the 77-year-old party has come into question since the February 25 general election in which the then Opposition Jamaica Labour Party overturned a 21-seat deficit to return to state power.

Yesterday's meeting of the party's National Executive Council (NEC) - the highest decision-making body outside of conference - unmasked much of the venom that has been building up against some of the PNP's leaders.

Burke accepted that he and all other senior members must be held accountable.

"I strongly believe that it is healthy for the PNP. Whatever the motives are, and I outlined four of the five motives to the NEC, why I believe I'm targeted," Burke said last night, declining to state what was fuelling the campaign against him.

Regarding Hanna, the youth minister in the previous PNP administration, Burke said she must be held accountable for the party not getting the youth vote in the recent elections.

"I think she did a good job as minister of youth and, particularly, within the resources. But did we get youth votes? That job she did, was it translated (into) support for the government and the PNP? The answer is no. Do I criticise her? Do I chastise her? And I'm not targeting her as a failure."

Meanwhile, Burke is claiming that the authors of the motion were responsible for the "negative publicity" against him in recent months.

Hanna brought the motion, which was seconded by Nigel Moore.

Under the PNP's constitution, a vote cannot be taken until at least 30 days have passed.

Burke said no date has yet been set for the next meeting of the NEC.

Along with the election loss, Burke has also been blamed for the extended internal battles that played out in street protests and clashes.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com