Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Cracks evident as Comrades vote

Published:Sunday | September 18, 2016 | 12:00 AM
PNP President Portia Simpson Miller sprints into the National Arena, while members of her security detail push to keep up.

The tension was obvious but the incidents which seemed likely to get ugly were quickly settled as unity was the mantra of the People's National Party (PNP) yesterday, as hundreds of orange-clad delegates gathered at the National Arena to participate in the internal polls to choose a president and four vice-presidents.

PNP officials reported an almost incident-free day, but late afternoon an ambulance was seen carrying one person to a hospital, the police had to move in to end a chair-throwing incident involving two women just before 5 p.m., and two other persons clashed while waiting on the results.

TENT AMENITIES

Elaborate tents outfitted with some modern conveniences, including a smart TV, posh decor, a functioning kitchen, and an air-conditioned office were all on display while dancehall music blared from massive sound systems across the holding area.

On a day when long lines were observed waiting for food, one Comrade, speaking on her cellular phone, said, "Good food deh yah." She stood under the Lisa Hanna tent.

PNP President Portia Simpson Miller was out early with a display of energy that put lie to claims she might not be well.

Simpson Miller's sprint was the fastest observed in recent times as she ran length of the Arena, not once, but twice - upstairs and downstairs - well ahead of her security detail, who, as usual, had to play catch-up.

Her entrance into the voting area was greeted by chants of "one leader" and shouts of "Portia wi seh". This contrasted sharply with her challenger Dr Karl Blythe, who made a silent entrance into the voting area.

The two later embraced after engaging in a bout of shadow boxing, showing their supporters that despite the contest they remained Comrades together.

Blythe, perhaps sensing that he would not get the nod to take charge of the party, told reporters he hoped delegates would give him enough votes "to send a statement to tell her that a significant number of us feel it's time for you to step aside".

Simpson Miller would not be shaken and prophesied before the results that she would be victorious.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com