Mon | Aug 10, 2020

Attack dog - ‘Progress’ in wooing Campbell to unleash on JLP; Bunting offers social-media arsenal for election

Published:Tuesday | January 7, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Dayton Campbell’s campaign stage presence could be critical to the PNP’s election success, Peter Bunting believes.

Damion Mitchell, Integration Editor

The leadership of the People’s National Party (PNP) is now in talks with firebrand member of parliament for St Ann North West, Dr Dayton Campbell, with a view to determining a role for him – perhaps as an attack dog on the Holness administration – in the run-up to the general election expected this year.

Campbell was the campaign manager for Peter Bunting’s unsuccessful Rise United team in the 2019 PNP leadership race. Campbell was highly critical of incumbent Dr Peter Phillips and his stewardship of the 81-year-old party, calling him unelectable.

The former spokesman on health would be axed in a reshuffle of the shadow Cabinet the party president announced weeks after the September 8 internal poll.

On Sunday, Bunting, acknowledged that almost four months after the gruelling battle, the wounds are not totally healed.

However, he said “steady progress” is being made.

“Whatever bruises were incurred in the campaign, I think they are healing,” Bunting told The Gleaner at a media party hosted by Phillips on the lawns of the Office of the Leader of the Opposition in St Andrew.

The Manchester Central MP also said that he does not expect any obstacle to a unified PNP in the next general election campaign.

The current discussions between the party leadership and Campbell could be critical to that process.

“I can’t get into the detail of that, but I would not be surprised if, as the year went on, he took on greater responsibility,” Bunting said of his former campaign manager.

At the same time, Bunting said that the PNP must urgently fix its communications deficits.

A former PNP general secretary, Bunting led a robust communications and social-media strategy in the run-up to the September leadership election and revealed that he stands ready to assist the PNP.

“Whatever resources we have – technical resources, organisational resources – are at the disposal of the party for the upcoming election. There is no reservation in that regard,” he said.

Bunting, who is also the opposition spokesman on education, maintained that an effective communications strategy has been the Government’s strength, not its performance in office.

“We need to develop an equal or at least a competitive capability in that regard,” he said.

damion.mitchell@gleanerjm.com