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Once cited for strife, Knight turns peacemaker

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

K.D. Knight, one of Portia Simpson Miller's harshest critics during her campaign for the presidency of the People's National Party (PNP) in 2006, has been appointed chief healer in the party.

Knight was on Sunday conferred with the responsibility of ensuring that bitterness and residual discontentment which threaten party unity are resolved.

Hardly an hour after he had told the National Executive Council (NEC) of the PNP in its closed-door session that it was essential that the party be united heading into the next election, Simpson Miller told the 'Sheriff' he was "so appointed to lead that process".

General Secretary Peter Bunting later told The Gleaner that Knight told the NEC that party unity was paramount.

"He offered if there were any remaining pockets in any constituency or in any division where they were not united, for any reason, he would volunteer to mediate and pull that team together to ensure that we are all singing from the same song sheet," Bunting said.

Disunity

The PNP general secretary said much of the disunity flowing from the presidential contests have dissipated. He conceded, however, that there was some strife emanating from other internal polls.

"There were a few constituencies and divisions, coming out of the selection process. We felt that there was need to make sure that everybody was back on board," Bunting said.

Knight, in the 2006 presidential campaign, had unleashed a verbal assault on Simpson Miller, questioning her ability to think on her feet. However, according to Bunting, Knight told the NEC, "'If I, who was known to support a candidate other than the president, have thrown myself fully behind the leadership in the interest of the party, no other situation can be more significant than that.'"

A fortnight ago, Ivan Anderson, a long-time PNP worker who now serves as mayor of St Ann's Bay, expressed discontentment after he was defeated by Lucius Thomas in the battle to represent North West St Ann.

Simpson Miller, a former prime minister, on Sunday played mediator when she addressed the issue on Sunday.

She declared that Thomas was on his way to Gordon House, but commended Anderson for "a campaign well run and to let him know that we love him.

"It was a contest. The contest is over now. Everyone must unite to ensure victory," Simpson Miller said.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com