ONLINE READERS COMMENT: Phillips' PNP heading down a slippery slope

Saturday, October 19, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Since winning the People's National Party (PNP) leadership race, Dr Peter Phillips has missed many opportunities to show strong leadership in a move to quickly unite the party.

Instead, we are still seeing factions and divisiveness. Either he lacks control or doesn't have the vision to see what is happening. The latest casualty is Councillor Kari Douglas, real estate expert and Peter Bunting supporter, who resigned as member of the Building & Town Planning Committee at the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation after being removed as leader of the committee. We recall shortly after the leadership race, Phillip's daughter who has no official role in the PNP made a brazen call on social media for Douglas, to "leave the party". This was in very poor taste.

It is petty and immature to keep the challenger and his main ally close-by because we know their support is still critical, but discard, banish and punish key supporters. Bunting's rating within the party is still high, having won half the delegate votes, it is even higher among the general public.

Phillips should never forget that the delegate votes were split 50/50. We expect politicians to develop thick skins to withstand criticisms without taking it personal. It is always an asset to keep competent and skilled people in strategic places to enhance the image of the party at various levels.

Phillips would've scored major points had he made more of an effort to unite the party showing he has the maturity and acumen as a political leader to put differences aside, work with his own critics, even as he tries to resolve those issues which gave rise to the challenge in the first place.

Phillips and his supporters may not have liked the timing of the challenge, but it was still legitimate and a democratic right given real concerns about the party's leadership.

Phillips more than anyone else, understands the dynamics of challenges including the after effects, having challenged Portia Simpson Miller twice for the party leadership. Persons and their supporters who dared to challenge a leader should not be victimized, marginalised.

It is not a good look on the leader, or the party. I suspect Phillips won't remain leader for long. He will be gone rightafter the next general election, which is expected within a year. Bunting should therefore be ready to 'rise united' again to try to salvage what is left of the party and regain its relevance as a political party, one that is modern, appealing and principled.

P Chin


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