Reject vote-buying at all costs!

Letters to the Editor

Reject vote-buying at all costs!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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Dear Editor,

I was taken aback by Dr Dayton Campbell's bizarre comments as he spoke to People's National Party (PNP) delegates at a meeting during which he endorsed candidate Mark Golding to lead the party.

According to media reports, Campbell said that the PNP needs a leader with money and a big bank account as people expect money to vote in an election. He told delegates: “The party needs smaddy with money, who can raise money, because you need money to run a political [party].” He went on to suggest (while chuckling), that delegates would also need money to vote on the seventh, referring to the day in November when the new PNP president will be elected.

This is the type of politics people should reject in 2020. We cannot condemn corruption then speak about vote-buying without shame or remorse. We heard of allegations of vote-buying during the Peter Bunting 'Rise United' challenge last year; it didn't help them. Dr Campbell, known for his outbursts, was one of the casualties in the last election. Just recently, he said he was sorry for his role in the PNP's disunity which led to the devastating loss at the polls; his latest comments won't help the party's image as it strives to rebuild.

The election of the PNP leader is not one to be taken lightly. The person chosen will ultimately become the next leader of the Opposition, and with that comes major responsibilities. The leader may some day be elected to form a Government. The country will depend on the Opposition to keep the sitting Government in check and to nurture a healthy democracy. A party leader should be chosen based on qualities such as the ability to lead, unify, and build the party as well as to communicate effectively.

This has nothing to do with one's bank account, or who has access to or can raise the most money. This did not matter during the Bunting challenge. Fund-raising is a team effort, which is boosted when a party appears organised, unified and cohesive, consistent and strategic. Major corporate entities are also known to contribute to the campaign of both political parties equally. Campbell went on to downplay popularity in leadership. Of course popularity alone won't matter but it helps, as a leader must be able to connect with and gain the confidence of the majority to be able to win any election.

P Chin

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