The PNP and loyalists

Letters to the Editor

The PNP and loyalists

Friday, December 04, 2020

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Dear Editor,

Cartoonist Clovis summed up the current situation in the People's National Party (PNP) well in his cartoon dated November 27, 2020. In the cartoon, PNP leader Mark Golding is seen with Angela Brown Burke in a tiny row boat about to set sail. The irony is that the boat is small; no room for many.

Patricia Duncan Sutherland, a Golding loyalist, stands on the pier with a checklist restricting access to Golding's PNP boat, while other members looking on are asking why is Golding choosing only Rise United supporters? This is food for thought and might create further cracks and mumblings within the party.

Golding had many opportunities to push for unity and healing through some of his appointments, but loyalists are being prioritised.

He was elected leader of the PNP a month ago. No one expected miracles, but we hoped to see early signs of a new PNP. Instead, we are witnessing the rebranding of loyalists, most of whom were rejected at the polls in the recent general election.

It wasn't shocking to see close ally Peter Bunting being appointed to the Senate. He has also been named Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, replacing prominent attorney Donna Scott Mottley, who supported Lisa Hanna for leadership. Golding needs Bunting now more than ever before.

Mottley has been downgraded to one of two deputy leaders of Opposition business in the Senate, but remains in the Cabinet with responsibility for justice. Bunting was also included in the PNP shadow Cabinet with responsibility for national security — a portfolio in which, I believe, he failed at as former minister. Golding is responsible for defence, the weakest portfolio. Bunting may well be the biggest winner in the new PNP.

The new shadow Cabinet also includes Angela Brown Burke, another loyalist, who is now the other deputy leader of Opposition business. Hanna's portfolio in foreign affairs and trade remains unchanged. Natalie Neita, another Hanna supporter, was surprisingly left out.

As Golding loyalists are positioned to the front, the party's leadership has remained mostly silent on topical issues such as the pandemic and economic fallout, growing unemployment, crime, questionable government expenditures, the Dry Harbour Mountain mining controversy, and the destruction of roads due to heavy rain and landslides.

Golding is low-keyed, low energy; he might be trying his hardest to pave the way for Bunting to ascend again. Let's face it, most Jamaicans don't recognise Golding by face, or by name.

P Chin

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