Tue | Jun 15, 2021

PNP delegates have loads of practice

Published:Wednesday | November 4, 2020 | 12:19 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer
Presidential contenders Lisa Hanna (left) and Mark Golding knock elbows while outgoing leader Dr Peter Phillips looks on during a ceremony for the signing of a code of conduct on Tuesday, October 13.
Presidential contenders Lisa Hanna (left) and Mark Golding knock elbows while outgoing leader Dr Peter Phillips looks on during a ceremony for the signing of a code of conduct on Tuesday, October 13.

Nearly 150 officials from the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) will marshal Saturday’s internal polls to select the sixth president of the People’s National Party (PNP) and the fourth leadership change since 1992.

St Andrew South Member of Parliament Mark Golding and St Ann South East (MP) Lisa Hanna are vying for the right to replace Dr Peter Phillips, who gained the position by acclamation in 2017 following the resignation of then incumbent Portia Simpson Miller.

Glasspole Brown, the country’s election chief, said the polling stations will be located at public educational institutions in parish capitals.

“We are still operating in a pandemic, and as such, the same health protocols we had in place for the general election will be in place for this election. That include individuals having their temperatures taken, hands sanitised, and each elector will be given their own pencil to cast their ballot,” Brown told The Gleaner on Tuesday.

SPECIAL LEAD PENCIL

In the September 3 general election, voters were given a special lead pencil, which was sanitised at intervals, to mark their ballot. This time, Brown said there are more than enough pencils for the 3,315 electors.

Each group, with at least 10 persons, is allowed one delegate. Delegates also come from affiliates such as the party’s youth organisation, the National Workers Union, the Patriots, and overseas groups.

Electors will be registered at desks to be put in place, where their credential will be checked. After clearance, they will be given a number and vote according to constituency at the stations.

“We will check them off and will given them a card, and the card will tell you the number polling stations where the ballot should be cast. The polling station will also have a number, plus the name of the constituency,” said Brown.

However, the party’s delegates have received much practice voting in internal polls since 1992, and many of Saturday’s delegates participated in the September 2019 leadership challenge of Phillips by Peter Bunting.

Phillips prevailed by 76 votes or by a margin of less than three per cent.

“Lawd, PNP delegates get practice too often now. We getting tired a it, but what is to be must be. We know how to do this man, we good,” said a Corporate Area delegate who was first given voting privileges in 2008.

Dr Peter Phillips challenged Simpson Miller after the 2007 general election loss but was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, the delegates’ list provided to the EOJ showed Kingston and St Andrew with 1,021 of the total. They will cast their votes at The Mico University College on Marescaux Road.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com

Delegates by parish

. St Catherine – 454, Cedar Grove Academy

. Clarendon – 267, Glenmuir High School

. St James – 266, Herbert Morrison High School

. Manchester – 253, Manchester High School

. St Ann – 221, Brown’s Town Community College

. St Thomas, 184, Yallahs High School

. Westmoreland- 169, Manning’s School

. St Elizabeth, 165, St Elizabeth Technical High

. Portland and St Mary, 119, St Mary’s High

. Trelawny, 100 at Cedric Titus High

. Hanover, 83 at Rusea’s High

. Trelawny and St Ann make up the party’s Region Two; St Catherine and Clarendon, Region Four; Manchester and St Elizabeth, Region Five; and Westmoreland, Hanover, and St James, Region Six.