The base problem facing both Peters

The base problem facing both Peters

Friday, June 05, 2020

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Dear Editor,

With the next general election due within the year, it appears that the People's National Party (PNP) will be late out of the starting blocks. The unpreparedness of the party should be laid at the feet of the current party president and the secretariat.

As a long-standing group member of the party, it is clear that over the last four years the leader has been unable to organise the base of the party. Elections are not won in party headquarters, but on the ground in the communities of Jamaica. The PNP's president should realise that his inability to connect with the base of the party is what has been the cause of the internal squabbles.

Peter Bunting challenged the party's president a little under a year ago and came within less than 80 votes of dethroning the leader. Without stating numbers, when an internal leadership race is held, the victor usually has a clear margin of victory. When Patterson retired, four candidates vied for the presidential post, Portia Simpson Miller's victory was resounding. When challenged a second time by Peter Phillips, Portia won handsomely to silence any further public dissent. For Bunting to be the maximum leader he would have to work as hard as Andrew Holness did in 2016 — share breath and press flesh with the base of the party and the grass roots of the country. Every popularly elected prime minister of Jamaica has done this. Neither Phillips nor Bunting has satisfied the base that they are bona fide grass roots.

The issue with both Peters is that they are unable to strike a loud note with the base of the party. Historically, for the PNP to secure victory at the national polls it must have the support of the grass roots. By being unable to connect with the base the party seemingly is headed to defeat at the general election.

Duncan Buchanan

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