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Tension-filled PNP council approves internal election for Portia's constituency

Published:Saturday | July 22, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Simpson Miller

The National Executive Council of the People's National Party (PNP) has unanimously passed a resolution for the holding of a selection conference to determine the candidate to replace Portia Simpson Miller in the St Andrew South Western constituency.

Payne Land Division councillor Audrey Smith Facey is to be challenged by Norman Gardens Division representative Angela Brown Burke in the July 30 clash.

‎There was tension inside a lecture theatre at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, this afternoon, before PNP president Dr Peter Phillips put the resolution to delegates.

Earlier, Smith Facey addressed the council seeking to explain that the constituency had several meetings to identify a successor but could not reach a decision.

She said out of that indecision, ‎Greenwich Town division councillor Karl Blake and herself were put forward as likely replacements.

Smith Facey reportedly suggested that it was therefore surprising that ‎the constituency executive would write a letter endorsing Brown Burke.

Ashley-Ann Foster, the spokesperson for the Payne Land Division ‎councillor would then rise, seeking to reiterate Smith Facey's arguments, but some comrades would reject her.

Demanding that she take her seat, they accused her of making disparaging comments about the leadership of the PNP.

Amid the tension, Foster was asked to yield to allow the party president to speak.

Phillips would take to the lectern seeking to defend the decision to hold a selection conference to determine Simpson Miller's replacement.

He said the regulation governing the party are aimed at ensuring that delegates have a ‎voice in the affairs of their constituency and the leadership had a duty to ensure this.

Phillips also said Simpson Miller's endorsement of Brown Burke should not be ignored. Simpson Miller, the current constituency chairman, is also a former PNP president. 

On top of that, Phillips cited the letter from the St Andrew South West constituency ‎executive backing Brown Burke.

Meanwhile, the PNP president has scolded comrades he said have been on radio lambasting "other PNP people".

"We must stop it!" Philips charged.