Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Phillips to name Shadow Cabinet today

Published:Thursday | September 28, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Dr Peter Phillips

The key positions of finance and national security should hold the most interest when Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips announces the People's National Party's (PNP) Council of Spokespersons today.

Phillips has called a press conference for 11:30 this morning, and the whispers from the PNP's Old Hope Road headquarters are that a lean Shadow Cabinet will be named.

Following the party's defeat in the 2016 general election, then PNP president Portia Simpson Miller named a council of spokespersons with 23 members plus eight deputies, but party insiders say that Phillips will be naming a much smaller body.

"This is the party president signalling the direction that he intends to take the party into, and spokespersons will not be named just so that persons feel important," said one senior PNP insider.

"You can look for some persons being told to go and concentrate on their political work on the ground and leave the issue of policing this failing (Andrew) Holness administration to a handful of persons."




Phillips was named the party's spokesman on finance by Simpson Miller after he held that portfolio while the PNP was in government, but that is expected to change after today.

"It should be a toss-up between Peter Bunting and Mark Golding for that position, and even though I suspect that Phillips would rather have Golding in that role, the fact that the by-election has not yet been held in South St Andrew and he is not yet in the House (of Representative), the job could go to Bunting," said the PNP source.

"If he gives it to Golding, then the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) won't start meeting until after the by-election, and the Comrade Leader is already getting criticism after your paper (The Gleaner) reported how long now it has not met."

The PAC, which is usually chaired by the opposition spokesman on finance, has not met since November of last year.

However, the insider added: "It would be difficult for Bunting to be shifted from national security, considering that he has this administration rattled, but do not be surprised if you see Julian (Robinson) going there. Peter (Phillips) trusts him and Jamaicans accept him. He also needs more of a challenge."