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Letter of the day: Time for PNP's 'youngsters' to step up

Published:Tuesday | March 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM


The People's National Party (PNP) has been in office for 22 of the past 27 years and has shown a strong and united front in the constant victories and rare defeats.

But something different is happening now - something you can feel. Party President Portia Simpson Miller, for all practical purposes, is finished politically. The jockeying for positions has already begun in the background.

Not surprisingly, the old guard refuses to budge. Meanwhile, they are slowly coalescing around a single candidate. The old guard, I believe, knows what a messy succession race can do to a party's election prospects. My personal view is that Dr Peter Phillips, the media's darling, won't get the presidency because the delegates won't forgive him for his role in this past election's defeat.

Persons on the ground say that Phillip Paulwell is being touted as a potential president by the old guard. For a man as tainted with failure as he to be touted as a potential leader shows what a state the party is in. Him being promoted to party leader would surely condemn the PNP to losing the middle class vote for quite a while.

This leaves the young Turks in a tricky position. They need to realise that division plays into the hands of the old guard. With so many young prominent PNP members having fallen afoul of party elders and delegates, it's hard to see certain persons making a push for leadership, especially if they don't have seats they can comfortably call their own.


Robinson right for the job

This is where Julian Robinson comes in. Here is a man with youth on his side. He has fresh ideas, is untainted by scandal, gets along well with delegates and is firmly in control of his seat. He is a person around whom the young Turks can make a push for power. Robinson is bright and may have what it takes to usurp the young Andrew Holness.

The young Turks, if they are wise, will come together around Robinson and form a winning team. Imagine for a minute, a PNP ticket with Robinson at the forefront and the other young members of the party firmly in his corner. That surely is a team that can not only muster enough internal support to wrest power from the old guard, but also a team that is young, willing to listen and learn, all the while doing things in a new fashion.

The youngsters need to act fast. The young Turks should take this time of confusion and chart a plan to revolutionise the party.

Alexander Scott