Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Phillips pitches return to basics for PNP

Published:Monday | March 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
People's National Party (PNP) President Dr Peter Phillips dances with Krystal Tomlinson (left), president of the PNP Youth Organisation (PNPYO) while Tashtika Sangh performs a song for the gathering during the party's National Executive Council meeting held yesterday at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.

In an address to the People's National Party's (PNP) National Executive Council (NEC), Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips yesterday urged members to get back to the basics of being a party of and for the people.

Phillips, who is also president of the PNP, espoused and reaffirmed the party's social democratic doctrine as Jamaica's best vehicle to accomplish equitable progress and development.

"We must remember that we have always been a radical party. We are not talking about violent revolution. We are talking about fundamental solutions," Phillips said to loud applause and nods of approval.

"We must remind ourselves that we are a party of radical social transformation. That is why we exist. That is who we are today, and that is who we will always be as long as you and I are living," Phillips said to even more raucous applause.

He told the NEC that progress made under previous PNP governments was being reversed in one particular area by the current Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration.

"Comrades, one of the areas in which the tide of progress is being reversed relates to what is happening to the Jamaican worker. And quite frankly, the attitude of the Jamaica Labour Party administration, especially to the public sector workers, has been one of gross disrespect," argued Phillips.

"Never before has a Government sought to force workers by the sheer use of their powers as the Government to short-circuit the collective bargaining traditions in Jamaica."

Phillips said that the PNP should take stock of what is needed in an increasingly politically jaded environment in order to be reckoned with once again in leading the charge for social justice across all strata of the society.

"We have to take account of the fact that we are confronting a country where there is much apathy and disbelief among the electorate. People, for all kinds of reasons, have lost confidence in the electoral process, and part of it is our fault because we have neglected to give adequate attention to things like political education," he said.

"We must never forget that we are a party that seeks power for a reason. We don't seek power for ourselves. We seek power to build a better Jamaica for all Jamaicans. Is not a samfy thing - tell lie today like them other people did in 2016," he said, alluding to a number of campaign promises made by the JLP.

"Difficult times call for hard work, and that is what I am calling the People's National Party to do," said Phillips, whose near one and a half hour delivery ended with chants from the floor of "We are ready! We are ready!"

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com