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No challenge to Atkinson in North Trelawny

Published:Sunday | September 13, 2015 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

The anticipated challenge from within the ranks of the People's National Party (PNP) to incumbent Member of Parliament Patrick Atkinson as its standard-bearer in North Trelawny is now unlikely to emerge.

PNP General Secretary Paul Burke told The Gleaner yesterday that, because North Trelawny is not a 'recognised constituency' - not having in place the requisite operational structure - the intended challenge from aspirants J.P. Whyte and Paul Stewart would not emerge in time for the next general elections.

"They (the constituency) don't qualify. They don't have the right. Now, the party can (pick from) many options to determine the candidate. It can do what we call poll sounding, indicative conferences, interviews - try to seek a consensus candidate. The party, under the directive of the party president, is doing exactly that, and that process is in train," Burke said.

"I can't tell you the outcome because I don't know and I am not directly involved in the process," he added.

"I only understand the steps for the process to take place, and I make that point because many people believe that because you don't have a run-off, that something sinister is involved. There is nothing sinister; it just is not a recognised constituency, based on the (party) constitution.

He continued: "The first is that people need to understand our constitution and, if you're not a recognised constituency for two years, you don't have the right to select your candidate."