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Phillips urges Comrades to focus on defeating JLP, not each other

Thursday, June 13, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party (PNP) President, Dr Peter Phillips has urged Comrades to focus on defeating the governing Jamaica Labour Party and not each other.

Phillips' plea, which was made on social media yesterday, came after Manchester Central Member of Parliament Peter Bunting declared that he would be vying for leadership of the party come September.

“Your support to me throughout these last two years have been invaluable and my source of strength and inspiration," Phillips said in his post.

"Our movement was founded and rooted in the principles of democracy to give all Jamaicans an avenue to make their voices heard and an opportunity to serve at all levels.

“As we proceed to test our Party's internal democratic pillars we must concentrate our efforts, energies and resources to defeating the JLP, not each other," he continued.

Bunting declared his hand in a statement to the party last weekend, ending months of speculation that he would challenge Phillips, who rose to the helm by way of acclamation.

He told Comrades at a divisional meeting at May Day High School in his Manchester Central constituency on Sunday night that he could not sit idly by, especially while the PNP appeared to be losing sight of its foundational principle as the “movement” for, and “architect” of change, in defence of Jamaican poor people.

That was the reason, he said, he decided, in response to appeals from Comrades, to challenge Phillips for leadership.

An investment banker, Bunting insisted that he felt “called” to challenge, and that the decision was not the result of cold calculation.

“Because I am an engineer, people think I calculate everything. I didn't go through every constituency and try and count how many delegates and whether somebody supported me or not,” he said.

He argued that while arithmetic is important in politics, “some decisions are made because you feel called to make that decision. This decision, I felt called to make”.

He later told the Jamaica Observer that the PNP's defeat in the Portland Eastern by-election, and feedback he received during that campaign and immediately after, triggered the feeling that he had to act.

The PNP's Constitution permits Bunting's decision, however it stipulates that a challenge can take place outside of the party's annual conference, held in September if approved by the party's president or executive.


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