Tide is rising in favour of Bunting!

Monday, August 12, 2019

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Dear Editor,

I was quite pleased to learn that Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Angela Brown Burke, despite saying she would remain neutral in the People's National Party (PNP) presidential race, decided to come out in full support to back Peter Bunting after what she described as a process of introspection.

Brown Burke announced early on that she would engage with members of her constituency and listen to their concerns. She went further by hosting both Bunting and Peter Phillips at forums at which they met with stakeholders and citizens to discuss the issues, answer questions, and present their vision. This process should be commended; politicians must learn to listen first and engage with people before making critical decisions affecting strategy, policies, leadership, etc.

I've always admired Dr Brown Burke as an intellectual, an independent thinker, a visionary, and a strategist whose views evolve; she cannot be locked into a box. Brown Burke is now Bunting's campaign director!

Some have suggested that Bunting would end up being 'the better loser' (compared to Phillips) in a PNP vs Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) election; this I find absurd! Despite the gap in the polls, JLP vs PNP gaps can be reduced and also eliminated within a short time leading up to a general election.

Case in point was 2016, when all signs pointed to a PNP victory, yet they still lost — albeit by a slim margin. Many were shocked when Donald Trump beat Hilary Clinton in the last USA elections, despite Clinton's lead in polls. A general election has not yet been called in Jamaica and is not constitutionally due until February 2021. There is plenty time and, if polls are correct, the gap is certainly narrowing with the renewed energy and interest in the PNP since Bunting announced his challenge. Right now the focus is on the leadership of the PNP and moving forward, united. The general election is another matter; it is too soon to call.

With crime and corruption being rampant and a decline in social services, endless dollar devaluation, declining poverty levels, a surge in imports over exports, poor town planning with multiple road repairs causing chaos and water shortage, there will be plenty talking points in the next election.

Since Brown Burke announced her decision much to the surprise of even her own husband, former PNP General Secretary Paul Burke, another prominent MP and former Phillips supporter and his former campaign leader, Dr Fenton Ferguson, has decided to also back Bunting after weeks of choosing to remain neutral. Fenton listed his reasons as follows: duty to party over loyalty, disappointing by-elections, worrying political strategies and decisions, fact that Jamaicans have not warmed to Phillips's leadership, Bunting's ability to influence the youth demographic age 18-40, and strong possibility that Bunting could defeat Holness despite the JLP's lead in polls. He went on to say that Bunting, a trained engineer, also holds an MBA, which together with his political and business experience as a banker make him well poised and “perfectly positioned to meet the challenges of the new, emerging world”. Very well said, Dr Ferguson, I couldn't have summarised these reasons any better!

P Chin

chin_p@yahoo.com


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