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Some leaders react to Phillips' PNP takeover

Published:Monday | March 27, 2017 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson
New president of the People’s National Party, Dr Peter Phillips, salutes his supporters.
People’s National Party supporters at a special delegates conference to elect Dr Peter Phillips as the new president.
Dr Peter Phillips, the new president of the People’s National Party, kisses outgoing president Portia Simpson Miller at a special delegates conference at the National Arena on Sunday.
From left: The new president of the People’s National Party, Dr Peter Phillips, is joined by former president P.J. Patterson and immediate past president Portia Simpson Miller on stage on Sunday.

Some sector leaders have been reacting to the ascension of Dr Peter Phillips to the presidency of the People's National Party (PNP), the political opposition in Jamaica. They argue that his takeover, on the third try, comes as Jamaicans become increasingly wary of local politics, even though the needs for development continue to rise.

Here is what some of them had to say about Phillips as leader and what the country expects of him.


Dennis Chung, chief executive officer, Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica


He has an advantage in that he was the one who is known to have taken the tough decision to start and maintain the course of the economic reform programme and that is really what has caused the turnaround in the country. We were on the brink in 2012.

In the private sector, we know he's someone who does consult a lot with stakeholders. His disadvantage is that anyone who has been a part of government for the last 40 years would be seen as part of the problem that we are having today. The whole issue of transparency and the perception of corruption, he's going to have to address that.

He will have to sell a version of 'prosperity'.


Hugh Johnson, president, Small Business Association of Jamaica


For the small business sector, I'm particularly interested in his pronouncements of getting back the lands into the hands of the landless.

No Jamaican who is born on this rock should be called a squatter. Government is hugging up large parcels of land which they are unable to utilise and they are refusing to give it back to the populace.

Anybody who comes from whichever party to lead Jamaican the Small Business Association of Jamaica will pledge our support.


Carol Narcisse, civil-society advocate


Peter Phillips has come to the party at a time that is very demanding. Demanding at the level of the party itself, because so much rebuilding of the People's National Party is needed to be done, and demanding at the level of the electorate, because, increasingly, the electorate has tuned out.

A big job is there to bring out and bring forward and back into the electoral process the disenfranchised, disheartened and the [un]interested. The other big job is to put forward credible ideas and alternative policies.

The playbook of the opposing without proposing has run its course.