Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Blythe takes steps to avoid putting his supporters at risk

Published:Saturday | September 17, 2016 | 9:00 AM
Dr Karl Blythe gets an enthusiastic hug from a supporter after he was declared to be in first place for the vice-presidential race after votes were tallied at the PNP’s 66th annual conference on February 5, 2005.

People's National Party (PNP) presidential hopeful Dr Karl Blythe has cited concern for the safety of his supporters as the reason for him not allowing them to dress in anything that can link his camp.

Blythe yesterday told journalists that with passions running high and persons angry over his decision to challenge Portia Simpson Miller for the party's top job, he has decided to err on the side of caution.

According to Blythe, since he announced that he would be challenging Simpson Miller, he has been subjected to intimidation to the point where Comrades are afraid to be seen with him.

"Because of this intimidatory factor and the fear out there ... , I have been discussing this matter with my team and we believe to put up a tent, or even give out these buttons that we have hundreds of, and to give out T-shirts might not be a good idea," Blythe told journalists during a media briefing yesterday.

"At this moment, we don't believe we ought to set up a tent with people in it, and if we do, it will be with a few people, and we will be playing our videos and thing. We really do not want the delegates to be wearing the shirts, the hats, and so on. And if you take it, keep it as a souvenir. Don't put them on.

"I could never live with one delegate being hurt because you support one candidate or another, so I have to be very careful," added Blythe.

While not stating the source of the threat to his supporters, Blythe chided Simpson Miller for the tone and comments she made at her constituency conference last Sunday when she told Comrades that "I'm very dangerous".

The former vice-president, who is expressing confidence that he could pull off an upset and get more votes than Simpson Miller, said if he does not win today, he would have paved the way for the PNP to begin the renewal and regeneration that it desperately needs.

arthur.hall@gleanerjm.com