Tue | Sep 19, 2017

Loyal to the core - Ferguson giving full backing to PNP president

Published:Sunday | August 7, 2016 | 8:00 AMErica Virtue
Dr Fenton Ferguson (left) with PNP President Portia Simpson Miller (centre) and Rosemarie Shaw during a campaign event in St Thomas.

Dr Fenton Ferguson, one of three People's National Party (PNP) vice-presidents set to seek re-election at the party's 78th annual conference come September, is urging young Comrades to show loyalty to those who lead the political organisation.

According to Ferguson, loyalty is critical to political longevity, but this should not be blind as it does not preclude Comrades from developing political independence in thought or expression.

"This is why I believe that when you enter politics, it is important that you have the option to be independent. Because there are things that are needed to be said and somebody has to say it.

"But, I believe that you must be loyal to your leader. And whatever I have to say, I say. I don't need anyone to tell the party leader that I have something to say. I can do it myself," Ferguson told The Sunday Gleaner.

 

SUPPORT FOR PHILLIPS

 

Ferguson said he has had to talk straight to the PNP and the party's leader Portia Simpson Miller in the past.

The veteran politician who backed Dr Peter Phillips in his two failed bids to lead the PNP, said despite the bruising leadership challenge to Simpson Miller in 2008, he was the only person from the Phillips camp to be elected to a party officer post.

"You would well remember that night of 2008 I walked into the arena with a sea of Portia supporters, thousands, and I went in without fear, without security. I just walked straight into the arena. And I did an interview thereafter and I said that I can only be loyal to one leader at a time," said Ferguson.

"And it does not take away my right to support whomever I want to support. But I am not into undermining leadership, and it's not because I am afraid of leadership either. It's not born out of fear, it's born out of principle."

 

POLITICAL CAREER

 

Ferguson has been a member of parliament for the last 23 years in the constituency of St Thomas Eastern and is the longest-serving vice-president in the PNP, both roles he plans to keep for some time.

"I have enjoyed it, because when you operate on principle, with clearly defined core values, when you are not a flip-flopper, today you are this, and tomorrow you are that, nobody will trust you, and no one can ever accuse me of that."

Ferguson will face Angela Brown Burke and Noel Arscott, Lisa Hanna and Dr Wykeham McNeill for the four vice-presidents posts during the PNP's annual conference.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com