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Region Three holds the key as six vie for four PNP vice-president posts

Published:Friday | July 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue

An interesting battle is shaping up inside the People's National Party (PNP), with three newcomers and three of four incumbents now nominated for the four vice-president posts in the 84-year-old political party.

Incumbent Noel Arscott has thrown in the towel after more than a decade in the party's leadership, while Dr Fenton Ferguson, Dr Wykeham McNeill and Dr Angela Brown Burke are seeking to retain their positions.

But Phillip Paulwell, Mikael Phillips and Damion Crawford are seeking their places at the table, at it appears that the party's powerful Region Three could hold the key.

Paulwell, Brown Burke and Crawford are all from the region and they will be watching keenly this week as the delegates list is finalised by the party's secretariat.

Sunday Gleaner sources say it was expected that having entered the House of Representative with her victory in the St Andrew South West constituency, Brown Burke would have walked away from the vice-president post and open the door for the chairman of Region Three, Paulwell, who backed her bid for the seat.


But with Brown Burke not backing down, it could split the Region Three votes and open the door for McNeill, Phillips and Ferguson, who will be supported heavily by their regions.

Crawford, who goes into the race without any delegates of his own, not being in charge of any constituency, will be depending on his internal party 'star' quality, even though the vice-president posts are usually reserved for Comrades who have 'paid their dues'.

"Look here man, look at the age of the majority of the population. They are under 50 years, and they want to see people in the leadership of politics at their age," Crawford told The Sunday Gleaner.

"I feel good when the worst thing that people, PNP people, can say about me is that I am not ready, given how people view politicians these days. They can't say I am a thief or corrupt. And I have heard worst said about other persons. So I don't consider that to be a negative," added Crawford.


Phillips has the added advantage of being the son of the party's leader, Dr Peter Phillips, but he made it clear he was running on his own record. His chances are expected to be buoyed by the absence of Arscott.

"I am not entering the race because I am the son of the leader, and I am running on my own record and not on my father's record. I am offering myself at a time when there is a vacancy, and where the party needs organisational help," said the Phillips.

PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson yesterday confirmed that the number of delegates to vote in the September 15 election is not yet finalised as groups, in good financial standing, are still being registered.

Dr Phillips is to he returned as the party's president during the conference.