Fri | Sep 24, 2021

Former Hanna supporters deny Golding ouster plot

Published:Tuesday | July 20, 2021 | 12:09 AMRuddy Mathison/ - Gleaner Writer
Mikael Phillips
Mikael Phillips
Denise Daley
Denise Daley
Natalie Neita Garvey
Natalie Neita Garvey
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Three senior lawmakers who backed Lisa Hanna’s failed candidacy for leadership of the People’s National Party (PNP) have denied their involvement in an ouster plot against incumbent President Mark Golding, who is also the opposition leader. The...

Three senior lawmakers who backed Lisa Hanna’s failed candidacy for leadership of the People’s National Party (PNP) have denied their involvement in an ouster plot against incumbent President Mark Golding, who is also the opposition leader.

The party was cast in turmoil on Friday after Chairman Phillip Paulwell and three vice presidents – Dr Wykeham McNeill, Damion Crawford, and Mikael Phillips – resigned in the wake of horse-trading over nominations that turned contentious.

PNP Youth Organisation President Krystal Tomlinson also quit her post.

The fracture sparked rumblings and social-media intrigue on Saturday linking Natalie Neita Garvey, Dr Morais Guy, Lothan Cousins and Paulwell to a subversive move to topple Golding as opposition leader. That would require the majority of the 14 sitting opposition members of parliament to find a leader among them and secure the imprimatur of the governor general.

Mischief making

Phillips, who was aligned with the Hanna camp in 2020, rubbished talk of Golding’s overthrow as “mischief making”, while calls to Paulwell and Guy went unanswered. Cousins offered no comment.

Neita Garvey, member of parliament for St Catherine North Central, took leave of absence from her post as deputy general secretary to support Hanna in the November 2020 internal election which she lost to Golding.

But Neita Garvey was quick to deny any association with a proposed putsch against Golding.

“I saw my name mentioned, but I don’t know who initiated it or how my name got involved. I wasn’t a part of any meeting, neither was I invited to one,” Neita Garvey told The Gleaner.

“As far as I am concerned, there is just one leader and I will continue to work until it’s my time to leave politics. I will give my support to any leader who comes; nothing has changed for me.”

St Catherine Eastern MP Denise Daley, another Hanna backer, said she was unaware of any attempt to wrestle leadership from Golding.

“Let me make it clear: I don’t know nothing about any plot. Nobody has mentioned it to me, I don’t know where these things are coming from,” Daley said.

Hugh Graham, MP for St Catherine North West, offered a terse response.

“The party has a communication arm. I will refer you to them,” Graham said.

Friday’s resignations paved the way for two councillors, Norman Scott, the mayor of Spanish Town, and Eugene Kelly, to be among the vice-presidential nominees. Former MPs Ian Hayles and Richard Azan completed the slate.

Golding was the only nominee for the presidency.

Barring a challenge on the floor at the annual conference in September, all positions will be ratified.

ruddy.mathison@gleanerjm.com