PNP chairman 'pleased' with selection process to replace Simpson Miller
Chairman of the People's National Party (PNP) Robert Pickersgill says that he is pleased with the process of selecting a candidate to run on the party's ticket to replace Portia Simpson Miller as member of Parliament for South West St Andrew.
In that contest, PNP vice-president Angela Brown Burke turned back the challenge of councillor for the Payne Land division in the constituency Audrey Smith Facey by 96 votes, with a voter turnout of just over 1,000 delegates.
But Pickersgill, speaking with The Gleaner last week, said that while he hoped that more delegates would have turned out to participate in the July 30 election exercise, he was nonetheless satisfied with the process.
"Unreservedly, I am very proud of how it evolved and how it was completed. I thought the contenders behaved in a very mature fashion," Pickersgill said.
Elections before back-to-school
After a bruising internal run-off in its bastion in South West St Andrew, the People's National Party (PNP) is now declaring that it is ready to head to the polls for by-elections.
However, with the sole responsibility for calling by-elections in the hands of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Julian Robinson, the PNP's general secretary, is urging that the polls be called soon, preferably, for him, prior to the reopening of school in September.
According to Robinson, members of Parliament are called upon greatly during the back-to-school period to assist constituents.
"The bigger issue in terms of the by-elections happening quickly is that both constituencies are without MPs and we are going into the back-to-school season and [you know] the kind of pressures MPs come under during that time," Robinson told The Gleaner, suggesting that people from the constituencies left vacant by the resignations of former PNP members of parliament would suffer if an MP was not selected in time.
The general secretary said that if the MPs are selected earlier, they would be "in a position to assist their constituents".
Mark Golding and Dr Angela Brown Burke - both senators - are the candidates, Robinson confirmed last week, who will be running on the PNP's tickets to fill the vacancies in South and South West St Andrew, respectively.
It is expected that both candidates will brush aside their challengers when the by-elections are called.
In the meantime, Robinson, responding to a series of questions from The Gleaner, said that neither Golding nor Brown Burke needed to resign as senators until they were elected as members of Parliament.
"Obviously, they can't hold both positions at the same time, but they don't need to resign until they are elected ... . What if the by-elections are not called anytime soon?" the general secretary questioned.
As for Brown Burke's replacement as councillor in the Norman Gardens division in the East Kingston and Port Royal constituency, Robinson said that he did not know of an immediate successor but said that it was "something to discuss internally".
That replacement would also require a by-election at the local level.
"Quite frankly, you could do all of them at the same time - do the three of them one day - and get them all out of the way," Robinson suggested.