Sat | Jul 21, 2018

PNP unity, Phillips priority

Published:Monday | April 10, 2017 | 12:00 AMRyon Jones

He might have taken over the leadership of the People's National Party (PNP) without the bitter battles that his predecessors P.J. Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller faced, but Dr Peter Phillips is under no illusion that there is no one in the party not yet behind his leadership.

Addressing a Gleaner Editors' Forum last Friday, Phillips admitted that there could be lingering factions inside the party and said that uniting the PNP is at the top of his agenda.

"Our first challenge and our first commitment is to consolidate the unity of the party," said Phillips.

"For many years, you had people who feel that they were a part of what you might call the 'Solid as a Rock group' or people in the' Portia group'.

"Our view is that there is just one party, but it is not just by passively saying it is just one party. It means that you have to work to convince all of the people that there is a need to unify our effort," added Phillips, who has been buoyed by an appeal from Simpson Miller for her supporters to line up behind the man who has replaced her.

According to Phillips, it is vital for him to ensure that every Comrade views the exercising of his decision-making authority as just and without preconceived or pre-existing prejudices.

"(I also) need to ensure that all the structures of the party work in an impartial way, and we need to establish discipline around how decisions are responded to and dealt with," said Phillips, who has promised that he would be looking to modernise the basic structures of the party.

The new PNP president says that under his watch, the PNP will face, head on, allegations of corruption in its ranks.

"I am sensitive to the fact that there is a need to rebuild public trust in the political process and in the PNP, in particular, which is my immediate concern. We are going to be establishing trustees of the party - a trustee group with people of high repute and integrity who will have oversight of how we conduct ourselves," said Phillips.