Keep Peter Phillips as PNP head and Opposition leader

Thursday, April 18, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Whether by accident or design, what's happening in the People's National Party (PNP) following the negative outcome in the recent Portland Eastern by-election is good for the PNP and for democracy in Jamaica. It is also good for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Dr Peter Philips is to continue as PNP president and party leader, even just for the time being, and young Damion Crawford says he will continue in politics, despite losing to Ann-Marie Vaz.

It is good for the PNP and for Jamaica because it comes with the promise of relative stability, some reduction of political heat, and reduced turmoil within the PNP at this time.

Meanwhile, there are at least two groups of people wishing or calling for Dr Peter Phillips to step down now as PNP president and Opposition leader following successive electoral defeats for the PNP under his leadership. One such group, I suspect, would include some 'well-thinking' PNP members/Jamaicans who believe that the party needs to be radically revitalised with new leadership now — painful and disruptive though that might be.

The trouble with that is no one knows for sure how long the process will last, and whether it will be satisfactorily completed in time for the next election.

And then there are those who just love the political “cass-cass” and “mix up and blender”, and who, perhaps, may realise some economic or commercial benefits, including enjoying “scarce benefits and spoils” from political wars — whether local or national.

I suspect, also, that various proponents of professional journalism, in traditional and social media, may be found in both groups, and across groups, even as they consciously and/or unconsciously seek to separate themselves, professionally, from all groups.

Another good reason for Dr Peter Phillips to be a part of the process of renewal for the PNP and social and political maturity for politics and governance in Jamaica is that there is still room for those who have been steeped in current and traditional negative practices to cleanse themselves and to learn appropriate lessons that will ultimately enable them to be part of the solution going forward: The solution, I suspect, could/should still include two vibrant, forward-looking, patriotic political parties; not as “owners”, so much as “servers”of the people.

Also, there should still be room for independent voices/entities in parliamentary and governance systems, and a competent, dedicated public service, with strong, yet compassionate professional oversight and effective functional supervision.

There may be no better time than now for those who are involved and engaged to wake up and make the dream come true.

Selah!

Carlton A Gordon

Kingston 10

carltongor@gmail.com


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