Thu | Jun 24, 2021

Letter of the Day | Manchester Central is PNP country

Published:Wednesday | August 7, 2019 | 12:00 AM


If Mark Wignall has quoted him correctly in The Sunday Gleaner of August 4, People’s National Party (PNP) presidential challenger Peter Bunting is apparently ignorant of how the party has historically performed in Central Manchester, the seat he first won in 2007.

Referring to the PNP Secretariat, Bunting is quoted as saying: “They once wanted to send me to South East St Ann, a safe PNP seat, and I said no. I need a challenge. I need to listen to the people and see if they have concerns that I can use my political power to fix.

“So I told the PNP, ‘Forget about the St Ann constituency.’ And that is when I decided that the choice of Central Manchester would be perfect for me. I like to fight for what I want, not wait on it to fall into my lap.”

The PNP has only lost Central Manchester once since 1967. Winston Jones won the seat for the PNP in 1967, 1972 and 1976. Sydney Beaumont won it for the Jamaica Labour Party in 1980, and one need not remind anyone about what happened in the lead-up to that election.

A snap election was held on December 15, 1983. The election was boycotted by the PNP in protest at the refusal of the ruling JLP to update the electoral roll. Most seats were unopposed. In the six seats where voting took place, turnout was about 55 per cent, translating into a nationwide figure of 2.7 per cent. It allowed the JLP to hold all 60 seats in the House of Representatives, with their leader, Edward Seaga, continuing as prime minister.

John Junor won the seat for the PNP in 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2002, and gave way to Bunting, who won the seat for the first time in 2007. That is indeed a safe seat that he got on a platter.

Perhaps Mark Wignall also needs to do his homework.