Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Golding not ruling out Bunting for Senate seat

Published:Friday | October 23, 2020 | 12:13 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Peter Bunting (left) and Mark Golding.
Peter Bunting (left) and Mark Golding.

People’s National Party (PNP) presidential contender Mark Golding has not ruled out his long-time business partner and former parliamentary colleague Peter Bunting for the Senate, hinting that he could be part of his inner circle should he win the November 7 internal leadership race.

He said that while there is no specific position in his mind, Bunting would be “one of many to be considered”.

Golding, who is contesting the PNP presidential election against St Ann South Eastern Member of Parliament (MP) Lisa Hanna, made the disclosure during a Gleaner Editors’ Forum yesterday.

Golding pointed out that Bunting, the former Manchester Central MP who is supporting his presidential bid, is well-respected for his abilities within and outside of the party.

“Peter Bunting is my close friend and my business colleague for many years. I want him to play a role in the party in the future because has abilities and is well-recognised as such,” Golding, the St Andrew Southern MP, said.

“He wants me to go forward. He has encouraged me to do so, but not as his proxy or agent, but as Mark Golding, an individual with experience, competence, and integrity who is delivering a message of hope for the party.”

Golding said that he is more than willing to work with party faithful who wish to see the PNP returned to a prominent place in Jamaica’s political landscape.

Asked whether the current vacant Senate seat would be taken by Bunting or businessman Norman Horne, who declined the appointment due to the pending presidential run-off, Golding said that such a decision would be made when the election is out of the way, should he emerge victorious.

“There is a range of factors at play. I don’t know who is interested in the Senate and who isn’t. When we configure the Senate, there’s a certain image and range of demographics you want to cover. So when the time comes, I will consider that matter,” he said, stressing that he was neither ruling out Bunting nor confirming him being shortlisted.

Earlier this month, Horne, a former PNP treasurer, said he would be forgoing being sworn in as a senator to allow the next leader of the Opposition a free hand to appoint his or her senators.

Horne was one of eight senators appointed by Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips, who is to demit office when the PNP elects a new president on November 7.

In the meantime, some opposition senators have indicated their willingness to resign from the posts should the new opposition leader ask them to.

Leader of opposition business in the Senate, Donna Scott Mottley, said there is precedent in the PNP that senators are not required to resign upon the appointment of a new party leader.

She pointed out that when Portia Simpson Miller stepped down as party president in 2017, Mark Golding was the leader of opposition business in the Senate, and all senators continued in the post.