Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Hanna should lead PNP

Published:Thursday | September 24, 2020 | 12:08 AM


A recent Bill Johnson poll shows Lisa Hanna leading the pack in terms of public opinion on who should lead the People’s National Party (PNP) in the wake of Peter Phillips’ resignation. Hanna was ahead of her closest rival, Mark Golding, by 10 percentage points. While I agree that she has work to do, I believe she has the best potential to improve and take the PNP to where it needs to be in a few years. Hanna has the potential to improve her ratings and win over critics. As I pointed out in another article, Hanna exudes confidence, youth and charm. She is by far the most articulate within the PNP right now, having built a solid career in communications, which could be used strategically to her advantage.

It is pointless to argue that Hanna barely won her seat. As we saw in the recent election, no seat is safe; Jamaicans are maturing politically, with a yearning for progress, change and hope. They want results, not rhetoric. The new leader of the PNP must be able to unite and establish protocols for dealing with internal conflicts, which occur in every organisation. Conflicts do not have to play out in public. It is pathetic, even childish, to see private, confidential communications within the PNP being leaked to the media by insiders. This should not be happening and can cause more harm to the party’s already-fractured image. While I don’t mind Golding leading the PNP, he fell flat when reports surfaced that he may have leaked private WhatsApp messages he had with the party’s chairman.

I feel women must be given more opportunities at leadership, especially in politics. Women generally tend to be more caring and empathic than men. Many single women lead families in Jamaica, juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities. In many cases they are superheroes. When you add intellect and charm to the mix, they can rise even further. Hanna some might add, is Portia’s protégé in terms of her love of people and the deep connection to the grass roots; she seems to genuinely care about poverty and quality of life, especially among marginalised youth. Hanna also has a firm handle on social media, which is required to court our youth.

While some men may be intimidated by female leaders, we must not allow that to cloud our judgement. I think of Jacinda Ardern, the young female prime minister of New Zealand who has been doing an outstanding job. She managed the COVID crises extremely well, leading the country to a speedy recovery with almost zero cases, currently. Hanna exudes similar traits. As the current Opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs and foreign trade, a key function in any government, she is being groomed in the art of diplomacy and would be well suited to deal with foreign leaders. Those who say Hanna cannot lead should remember that Andrew Holness faced similar criticisms when he was selected to lead the Jamaica Labour Party. He started off lame, but quickly rose to the challenge, becoming more confident. Hanna is also an excellent debater and with the right team behind her in the PNP, she would be a formidable match against Holness in an election.