Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The People's National Party (PNP) has moved to clear the air on an award which was collected by chairman of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica (ECJ), Dr Herbert Thompson, at its fundraising gala and awards function on Tuesday.
Burchell Whiteman, who chairs the awards committee, has apologised for what he described as "infelicities in a section of the letter written to you (Thompson) on September 10, and I take full responsibility."
Whiteman referred to the content of the citation to the ECJ, which showed that the commission was chosen for its contribution in building national unity.
Julian Robinson, deputy general secretary of the PNP, told The Gleaner that the Percival Patterson Award was just one of four presidential awards presented at the ceremony. He said the ECJ, on whose behalf Thompson accepted the honour, copped that award.
"We had awards in the name of each of the four presidents of the PNP in its 75 years of existence," said Robinson.
"The ECJ, as an institution, was given the Percival Patterson Award for building national unity … . It was not a personal award to Dr Thompson. He accepted on behalf of the commission."
Like Whiteman, Robinson admitted that an error was made on the part of the PNP.
"Where I think that we went wrong is that the programme should have had the name 'ECJ to be collected by Thompson', but instead, it only had the name 'Herbert Thompson'," said Robinson.
"But it was very clear that he was accepting the award on behalf of the institution," added Robinson.
Since 1938, the PNP has had four presidents: Norman Manley; his son, Michael; P.J. Patterson, and Portia Simpson Miller.
The Portia Simpson Miller Award was presented to Montego Bay-based political worker O. Dave Allen for "commitment to the uplifting of the masses".
The Michael Manley Award for "political transformation" went to Dr Paul Robertson, a former PNP general secretary; and the Norman Washington Manley Award was presented to former Cabinet Secretary Dr Carlton Davis for "the preservation of the national vision".
Yesterday, Thompson apologised to Opposition Leader Andrew Holness for not giving him prior notice of his attendance at the event.