PNP unity is a farce

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

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Dear Editor,

When the great Edward Seaga was alive someone asked him how is it that the People's National Party (PNP) could be so unified while his own Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) was always at each other's throats?

His response was telling.

He reportedly said: “If you think the PNP is united, just wait until they are in Opposition.”

He couldn't have been more right. The so-called PNP unity that is supposed to solve all their problems is a myth. It was shown to be so after the first election loss in 18.5 years, at the hands of Bruce Golding. The knives came out and Portia “Sista P” Simpson Miller faced a challenge that she ultimately won. The rancour and abuse meted out to her by many of the people from the now One PNP and Rise United teams were amazing. The much-vaunted internal party machinery that was supposed to stop such grievances was nowhere in sight.

The win in 2011 again brought some semblance of unity to the PNP. The internal divisions were taped over. Things started going well again in more or less a normal way. Bu the 2016 loss once again placed them in Opposition, and we are seeing yet another leadership challenge. And this has been just as acrimonious as the ones before.

Why is it that the PNP can only stay at peace while in power? Simple, really, when you look at it. The PNP is not a political party to advance the interest of the country, but a party to get and keep State power. How they use that State power is not their most pressing issue. They just want to have it. And if anyone should doubt that, just look at how the Rise United campaign is being conducted. There is only a passing reference about how to improve the country. The biggest policy position so far from Peter Bunting is to end the free tuition policy of the JLP Government. It is all about getting the party back in Government, because they know once the party is out of power it will descend into a dog-eat-dog scenario.

There is no overarching philosophy or policy position that guides the PNP while in office and keeps them together out of office. None! With all the talk about democratic socialism and all that nonsense, the PNP can only stay united if they are in power. Any party that can only thrive holding on to power is not a good party at all to be given power. That's how dictatorships start.

Peter Phillips, for his part, seems to have understood that there is no guiding principle behind the PNP that keeps them 'sane', other than State power, and has started talking about getting back to the roots of the PNP, etc. The problem with that, though, is that many of the people, especially from Rise United, are not interested in crafting any such thing to guide them; they only want State power to control the benefits that go with it. Jamaica must be made to understand that.

The PNP is about one selfish act — getting back power. Its leadership has no plans, no philosophy, no nothing on how they will use that power if they get it. Any party that is only focused on getting State power at all costs is not a party that should get it in the first place.

Remember, that's how dictatorships start.

Fabian Lewis

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