Portia to promise more? 76th annual PNP conference to close with public session today
Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The leadership of the People's National Party (PNP) ventures into the public session of its 76th annual conference at the National Arena today, hoping that its on-the-ground supporters will share in the optimism of the leadership that the country is heading in the right direction.
PNP Chairman Robert Pickersgill and Vice-President, Angela Brown-Burke last week argued that despite complaints of hardship, there is much for which to be thankful going into today's festival.
Asked by The Sunday Gleaner if there was really anything for the PNP to celebrate, Pickersgill quipped: "You going to find out on Sunday, there is much to celebrate."
Added Pickersgill: "Things could have been much worse. We have gone five IMF tests and we are on the way to the sixth ... . Had we failed the first, we probably could not be having this conference."
Praises for Government
The PNP chairman heaped praises on the Government for its achievements on the macro level even as he admitted that this was yet to really trickle down to the man in the street.
"We are acutely aware of that and are endeavouring our utmost to do something about that," asserted Pickersgill as he added that the Government would be focused on smaller projects as the year came to a close.
He signalled that the PNP would be making even more economic promises when party president Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller takes the platform today.
Pickersgill was supported by Brown-Burke, who dismissed suggestions that all Jamaicans were reeling from the effects of any economic downturn that may have been occasioned by the agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the failure of the Government to generate meaningful growth.
"It is not true that no one is feeling any better in their pockets," asserted Brown-Burke. "Not enough has been done, and certainly not as we would have wanted it to be, but it is not true that nobody at all is any better off today than they were before."
Brown-Burke pointed to what she described as the plethora of social-protection measures implemented by the PNP administration in the midst of the challenges brought about by necessary changes to Jamaica's economic framework.
The only female among the four PNP vice-presidents was adamant that there is genuine cause to celebrate today. "The 76th annual conference is a time for reflection, but it is also a time for our delegates to talk to us," declared Brown-Burke as she noted that the weekend had given party members an opportunity to evaluate and ventilate.
Paul Burke, who is presiding over his first annual conference as PNP general secretary, expressed confidence that the party would be able to pull out the numbers today.
"We can't afford enough buses," announced Burke. "It is the truth ... . There are more people than buses to accommodate them."
Traffic changes for PNP conference
- Arthur Wint Drive will be operated as a one-way, beginning at North Avenue to Roosevelt Avenue. In addition, the section of Arthur Wint Drive between the Bob Marley statue and the main entrance to the National Arena will be converted to a pedestrian-only zone.
- Motorists travelling to the National Arena from the direction of Tom Redcam Avenue who wish to access the parking area at the top of Arthur Wint Drive must turn left on to Roosevelt Avenue, then right on to Stanton Terrace, then right on to Mountain View Avenue then make their way down Arthur Wint Drive.
- Only vehicles conveying patrons will be allowed to turn from Mountain View Avenue on to Arthur Wint Drive, however, these vehicles will not be allowed to continue down Arthur Wint Drive and must either park, or else make their way back on to Mountain View Avenue and out of the area.
- Members of the general public will continue straight along Mountain View Avenue and will not be allowed to turn on to Arthur Wint Drive.
AFTER THE EVENT
- All road closures will be removed to allow for the free movement of traffic from the stadium.
- Arthur Wint Drive will be operated as one way from the stadium to Tom Redcam Avenue.
- Roosevelt Avenue will be operated as one way from the stadium to Stanton Terrace.
- Latham Avenue will be operated as one way from Roosevelt Avenue to Old Hope Road.
- Vehicles occupying the upper section of the car park will use the upper section of Arthur Wint Drive to exit.