Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Pressure on Phillips - Bunting-backed Comrades demand meeting with PNP president

Published:Saturday | May 30, 2020 | 12:29 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
In this September 10, 2019 photo, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips (left) and Peter Bunting arrive at a sitting of the House of Representatives at Gordon House.
In this September 10, 2019 photo, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips (left) and Peter Bunting arrive at a sitting of the House of Representatives at Gordon House.

THERE IS another political flare-up in the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) as its president, Dr Peter Phillips, has yielded to a demand by a Peter Bunting faction to discuss the party’s future.

“There has not been a meeting between you and the parliamentary group since we received news of your illness. We are, therefore, asking that before Monday of next week, you meet with the parliamentary group to discuss matters relating to the future of our party,” the May 28 missive to Phillips said, a copy of which The Gleaner has obtained.

It was signed by 15 out of 29 opposition members of parliament.

A day later, in response, Phillips blamed the lack of a meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic which is affecting the island.

“As you are aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in various legal orders and public health advisories which have limited the ability of organisations to function in a normal manner. The effect on the party’s organs and the parliamentary group has been no different. Our compliance with the restrictions [has] prevented meetings,” Phillips explained in a letter, a copy of which The Gleaner also obtained.

The PNP president said that he would ask General Secretary Julian Robinson to make contact with Bunting in light of the impending easing of the COVID-19 restrictions to arrange for a meeting of the parliamentary group.

Phillips last September beat Bunting in a presidential election as questions over Phillips’ electability were raised.

Bunting, along with several other PNP members of parliament, had insisted that Phillips could not lead the party to victory against Jamaica Labour Party leader Andrew Holness.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com