Mon | Sep 28, 2020

PNP FEUD - Douglas says victimised, quits role in post-Bunting fallout

Published:Saturday | October 19, 2019 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter

Accusing factions loyal to People’s National Party (PNP) President Peter Phillips of a “vindictive push” to have her removed, Kari Douglas quit yesterday as minority spokesperson amid a fallout targeting backers of leadership challenger Peter Bunting.

Douglas, in her resignation letter to the PNP minority leader of the Building and Town Planning Committee of the KSAMC, Andrew Swaby, said she made the decision based on pressure from Phillips’ ONE PNP supporters at the municipality who wanted her to relinquish her position.

She remains councillor of the Trafalgar division in the St Andrew South East constituency.

Phillips’ ONE PNP won over Bunting’s Rise United in the presidential clash on September 7.

“You may recall that on the morning of September 8 this year, that is the day after the presidential challenge, I called you to offer my resignation due to word I had picked up that some colleague councillors who supported Dr Phillips’ ONE PNP campaign had indicated that they would not sit on the referenced committee once I led it,” Douglas said in her letter.

Douglas noted that three PNP councillors wrote to Swaby, threatening to resign if she continued in her position. She suggested that the leadership structure of the PNP would regret its actions following a leadership race that had resulted in “talented Comrades sidelined” because they dared to take a position that would enhance the party’s chances of success in the next general election.

However, The Gleaner got copies of two letters that Swaby wrote to Douglas in response to concerns she raised.

In a letter dated October 2, Swaby referenced a telephone conversation he had with Douglas on September 8, 2019, where she indicated that she would step down as the ranking member on the Building and Town Planning Committee. “I had asked you at the time to not rush and make a decision of that nature,” the letter read.

Following a meeting of the PNP caucus on September 23, a decision was taken for Swaby to assume the role of ranking member of the committee. The letter further stated: “The caucus believes this decision is best to preserve the unity and harmony within the organisation.”

In another letter to Douglas dated September 20, Swaby chided Douglas for her posting on social media declaring “Welcome to Prosperity #New Jamaica” with the V finger sign used by the Jamaica Labour Party.

“These postings appear inconsistent with someone who is an elected representative of the PNP and has caused disquiet, upset, and concern among your colleague councillors at the KSAMC,” the letter further stated.