PNP needs to listen to the complaints and heal

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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It’s not unusual for political parties to engage in blame-throwing and internal wrangling after an election loss. And, especially in a case where the party never thought it would have been voted out of office, the quarrels get loud.

That’s what the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) is now going through in the aftermath of the February 25 General Election which it lost by a mere one seat to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).


The latest rounds of charges and counter-charges were played out on Sunday at a ‘Grassroot Reasoning’ staged by the PNP’s New Foundation group at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.


Some of what was said was harsh and have caused great unease in the party which is not accustomed to the type of internecine conflicts that characterised the JLP over several years in the past.


But what was said was important for the party to hear, heal and move forward.


It is obvious that the PNP leadership had grown complacent and did not give the required attention to the complaints of not only its members, but the wider population of Jamaicans, many of whom are not committed to either of the two major political parties.


In that regard, it would suit the party hierarchy to give due regard to the sentiments expressed by Councillor Venesha Phillips that the PNP has not been true to its cause.


The party would also do well to not ignore the observation made by former member of parliament Victor Cummings that the movement no longer belongs to the people, as its name suggests, but to "a few well-connected individuals".


In addition, the PNP cannot ignore the truth in Senator Floyd Morris’ comments last September that its MPs who have lost public support have only themselves to blame, because they failed to heed party president Portia Simpson Miller’s warning to not disrespect their constituents.


As we stated before in this space last September, The PNP, amidst all this bitterness and hurt, has an opportunity to start mending the deep rift within its ranks.


It will require a lot of maturity, especially after all that has been said, but it can be done, and must be done in the interest of the country.


30 years after Chernobyl


The world yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, regarded as the worst of its kind in history.


Although 31 deaths were directly attributed to the accidental release of large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic of the Soviet Union, cancer researchers have said that at least 4,000 people eventually died after cancer survival rates were taken into consideration as the radioactive cloud spread to other parts of the USSR and northern Europe.


Yesterday, it was reported that a charity named Bridges to Belarus has warned that a number of babies in a region close to Ukraine’s border are still being born with serious deformities, while an unusually high rate of people have rare forms of cancer.


April 26, 1986 was indeed a dark day in history, one we hope that will never be repeated.


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