UPDATED: Azan to speak at Campbell’s conference
(EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article incorrectly included Basil Waite and Omar Newell among supporters of Peter Bunting. As a member of the party secretariat, Waite cannot declare a preference and the Patriots, which Newell leads, has declared it will not side with a candidate. We regret the errors and any inconvenience caused.)
Richard Azan has been silent for weeks since it became official that Dr Peter Phillips would be challenged by Peter Bunting for the presidency of the People’s National Party (PNP).
He was silent even before it became official.
The clearest indication yet that he is joining the ranks of the Bunting Rise United camp is that the Clarendon North Western member of parliament (MP) will be a platform speaker at the constituency conference of Dr Dayton Campbell on Sunday.
Campbell, the member of parliament for St Ann North Western, is the campaign manager for Bunting’s Rise United camp.
Azan remained elusive up to Thursday, not reachable by telephone. Nor did he respond to messages from The Gleaner. However, he has been featured with other ‘Risers’, including Dr Angela Brown Burke (campaign director), Mark Golding (campaign chairman), Ian Hayles, Luther Buchanan, Colin Fagan, and Ronald Thwaites.
Bunting has hinted that MP support for his presidential bid now stands at 13, and 10 for Phillips of the party’s 29 parliamentary representatives.
Since Portia Simpson Miller rose to the presidency of the party in 2006, majority support by parliamentarians has not determined the winner of an internal leadership race. Phillips found himself backed by the majority of the party’s sitting MPs in 2006 and 2008 but lost both battles to Simpson Miller.
The latest leadership battle, which is to be settled on September 7 in a special delegates’ conference, has drawn politically divisive lines in the party, cutting through friendships and pitting once-strong allies against each other.
Meanwhile, North Trelawny MP Victor Wright represented Phillips at the recently concluded Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show.
Evon Redman, MP for St Elizabeth North Eastern, said that he will not join a team, but he intends to exercise his delegate vote.
Constituency conferences are constitutionally required to be held before annual conference each year. The PNP’s annual conference is scheduled to be held in the third week of September.
How they stand in PNP leadership race
One PNP- PETER PHILLIPS
Natalie Neita – campaign chairman
Dr Morais Guy
Victor Wright – represented Phillips at Denbigh
Dr Shane Alexis
Rise United –PETER BUNTING
Mark Golding – campaign chairman
Dr Dayton Campbell – campaign manager
Angela Brown Burke – campaign director
Dr Fenton Ferguson
Richard Azan – to address Dayton Campbell’s constituency conference
Cannot declare as part of secretariat:
Fitz Jackson – PNP chairman
Horace Dalley – deputy chairman
Julian Robinson – general secretary
Senator Wensworth Skeffery –deputy general secretary.
Basil Waite - deputy general secretary
Top 10 constituencies with most delegates
Westmoreland Western, Dr Wykeham McNeill – 129
St Andrew East Central, Dr Peter Phillips -108
St Andrew South West, Dr Angela Brown- Burke- 105
Manchester, Central, Peter Bunting -80
Westmoreland Central, Duane Vaz -78
St Catherine North Western, Robert Pickersgill -76
St Thomas Eastern, Dr Fenton Ferguson -74
St Andrew, South East Julian – Robinson- 74
Clarendon, South West Clarendon with – Arscott-74
St James, Central – Andre Hylton (caretaker) -66
Kingston, Eastern and Port Royal, Phillip Paulwell – 52.
Senators have no vote unless they are caretakers.