Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Golding: I can beat Hanna

Published:Friday | October 23, 2020 | 12:11 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Mark Golding
Mark Golding
Lisa Hanna
Lisa Hanna

As the November 7 People’s National Party (PNP) presidential election draws closer, prospective candidate Mark Golding is oozing with confidence that he can secure the seat at the helm of the 82-year-old political organisation.

Golding, who is expected to be nominated today, will face off with Lisa Hanna for the post.

“I can beat Lisa Hanna,” he said during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum yesterday. “We have been working hard on the ground, and, as you know, we have been active in social media to raise my profile.”

This is the first time Golding, 55, an attorney and investment banker, will be vying for a national position of leadership since his political career began in 2017.

“When I saw what was happening to the party, and the fact that Dr [Peter] Phillips is retiring, I decided that I have the skill set and the approach that is needed to move the party forward at this time,” said the St Andrew Southern member of parliament (MP).

A leaked internal poll commissioned by the party in September showed that Hanna, the St Ann South Eastern MP, was the more favourable pick among voters.

Among the 14 PNP MPs, 34 per cent of respondents said Hanna was best suited for the job.

Hanna also had the backing of 43 per cent of PNP delegates, compared to 21 per cent for Golding.

Golding reasoned that the polls were conducted before he declared his candidacy but said that since then, “significant work” has been done to introduce him to the wider society.

“I expect that the next poll, when it is done, will reflect the results of that effort. It’s not about a poll, anyway. It’s about who the delegates want to choose to lead the party, and the delegates are seasoned political individuals who love their party and will be making the choice that they think is best for the future of their party,” he said.

Golding added that he was focused on wooing delegates across the country.

“We are not leaving anybody out. I’ve been meeting with delegates across the island, and those meetings will continue, and, obviously, making phone calls to touch base. That is the basis on which we are able to assess how we stand currently, and that is why I am able to say that I am confident of victory,” he said.

Golding’s campaign director, Dr Angela Brown Burke, said the team would keep driving the message of what a Golding presidency would bring.

“The issue around unity – how we work together and [settle] our differences and how we make sure we understand the goal, which is the lifting up of the Jamaican people surrounding social justice and equality of opportunities – he is ideally placed to be the person who leads that. We only have to look at his record so far and his whole performance,” she said.

Meanwhile, campaign spokesperson Patricia Duncan-Sutherland shared that she is expecting a high voter turnout for the election, which is just over two weeks away.

“It’s a smaller group, so we can be in touch with them directly,” she said.