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PNP in quite a pickle

Friday, September 18, 2020

Dear Editor,

The People's National Party (PNP) continues to show its many fractures as the party struggles to move forward. Recently PNP Youth Organisation (YO) President Krystal Tomlinson made demands of the party, giving a 30-day ultimatum to party leader Peter Phillips to leave office. This was out of place, out of order!

It has not been a full month since the recent election, and Phillips offered his resignation immediately. The party is clearly disorganised. It will need time to transition and plan its own renewal under new leadership, anything else would be pure chaos.

The PNPYO should, at least, have some familiarity about the rules, polices, and processes of the PNP.

There is also a thing called respect. The PNPYO should not be issuing ultimatums to the party!

Tomlinson and the PNPYO also recommended eight names for the Opposition slate of senators, her name was among the eight. Did the PNPYO seriously believe that their list would be the deciding factor? Although there is some talk that Phillips's selection did not follow due process, ultimately this is the responsibility of the leader of the Opposition to choose and time was a constraint. It is hoped that the senators are professional and reasonable enough to consider stepping down when the new leader of Opposition is appointed.

Despite escalating criticisms levelled at its leadership over the years, the party does not seem to have a leadership succession plan. A leader should have experience, but I don't believe the leader must follow a specific path to the top; no one is owed leadership unless the organisation is operating a dynasty. Mark Golding might be a safe choice to lead, but he doesn't strike me as a leader, and doesn't seem too keen. Phillip Paulwell is mediocre, in my opinion, he has a lot of scandalous baggage, plus questions surround his US visa cancellation. Veterans like Dr Wykeham McNeill and Peter Bunting, an aspiring leader, both lost their seats, which is a major blow to their popularity and political status. Then there is Lisa Hanna, who after a judicial recount retained her seat by a slim margin. Hanna is a long-term Member of Parliament, a former Cabinet minister, and current member of the PNP executive. Although some critics describe her as polarising, this is actually a trait found in many world leaders. Hanna is perhaps the most articulate in the party's executive, her confidence, communication skills and youth are definitely assets. As for Mikael Phillips, the leader's son, another Phillips is the last thing the PNP needs at this time. It will be interesting to see where the PNP goes from here, consensus, image and branding will be key.


P Chin