Phillips unlikely to lead PNP to victory
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Now that Jamaica's main opposition political party, the People's National Party (PNP), has a new leader, in the person of 67-year-old Peter Phillips, there is some hope among that party's members that the PNP will be returned to power very soon. However, from where I sit, it is very hard to see the PNP, under Mr Phillip's leadership, being returned to power.
I don't want people to get me wrong: Phillips' time as leader of the PNP has certainly come. For years, he has been the heir apparent and, for all intent and purposes, he has held very senior positions within the PNP.
Many would also argue that Mr Phillips distinguished himself in government when the PNP was in power. Many say that he successfully managed, even rescued, the Jamaican economy from the mess that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) left it in when the PNP took over, when he was finance minister.
However, Mr Phillips still has a lot of baggage that he just cannot seem to shake. He is not certainly the most popular leader the PNP has produced. Many still see him as some sort of rich and arrogant stuffed shirt who thinks he is better than anybody else.
Nasty campaign rhetoric
Many people, including many PNP supporters, will never forgive him for trying, unsuccessfully, to unseat the 'Dear Leader', Portia Simpson Miller, twice. They will point to the nasty campaign rhetoric that his campaign used against the sacred Portia, when he tried to unseat her.
As far as I can see, Mr Phillips really only has one shot at becoming prime minister - if any. At age 67, many would say that the man is way over the hill now.
In all likelihood, Mr Phillips may very well prove to be nothing but a transitional leader.
With all the gimmickry that the ruling JLP is going on with these days, Jamaicans may very well have to get used to the JLP remaining in office for a few more years to come - simply because too many don't see Mr Phillips as prime minister material.
MICHAEL A. DINGWALL