Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Golding snub causes more PNP turmoil

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2020 | 12:18 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

With the People’s National Party (PNP) set to enter another round of leadership changes within three months, various groups in the 89-year-old party are already lining up behind two presumptive candidates although nominations have not yet been opened.

Mark Golding and Lisa Hanna appear to be the early favourites for some in the PNP, including those attached to affiliate groups.

One affiliate group met on Wednesday night to discuss the unfolding leadership drama after Dr Peter Phillips indicated that he would step aside in the aftermath of a landslide defeat to the incumbent Jamaica Labour Party.

Neither of the two frontrunners has declared an interest in the post of PNP president.

Hanna was confirmed on Wednesday as the member of parliament-elect for St Ann South Eastern, eking out a 31-vote victory at the end of the judicial recount at the St Ann’s Bay courthouse. The haemorrhage of thousands of votes in a PNP safe seat is believed to have cost Hanna some purchase in her leadership ambitions.

Golding, the only MP from the inner circle of the Rise United campaign to survive the carnage at the polls is now at loggerheads with the current leadership of the PNP over the process that resulted in Phillips being named leader of the Opposition.

Golding, in a letter to PNP Chairman Fitz Jackson, expressed discomfort with having the lame-duck Phillips foisted on the Parliament in what he termed a hastily conceived push to endorse Phillips as interim opposition leader.

The St Andrew South MP did not sign a letter of approval dispatched to the governor general backing Phillips.

Long-time PNP campaigner and strategist Heather Robinson said on Wednesday that the “sore foot” problems in the PNP that had caused its fracture must be mended by the next leader of the party.

“You have to find the right medicine and the right person to apply gentian violet,” she told The Gleaner in an interview.

Robinson said that she was not aware of the potential heirs jostling to succeed Phillips, but quipped: “I know who I definitely not supporting.”

Appearing to be peeved by the ultimatum issued by the PNP Youth Organisation for Phillips to quit in 30 days, Robinson said the circumstances facing the party were to be taken into consideration.

“For this haste of eviction that the YO was calling for, I don’t even know if they even know what is written in the [PNP] constitution when it comes to these things.

“To say that Dr Phillips should leave in 30 days, it’s an asinine reaction!”

Robinson is also pushing back against criticism about how Phillips went about appointing the eight opposition senators.

“Let us suppose that there is some bill that goes through the House and end up in the Senate. What we going to do? Just sit and allow the JLP senators to just go ahead and do what they want to do?”