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'PNP heading down the path of WI cricket, Manchester United'

Monday, September 09, 2019

A social commentator is suggesting that the People's National Party (PNP), fresh from its bruising leadership contest, is heading down the path of great West Indies cricket teams and the iconic English football club Manchester United, as a failing organisation.

Adrian Genus, St Andrew businessman and veteran pharmacist, in his latest WhatsApp post, had a few suggestions yesterday for the party, including that the PNP still needs to find a leader who is liked by the Jamaican people, “Dr Peter Phillips, the current leader is not the one”.

Following is Genus' analysis based on the results of Saturday's election in which Dr Phillips won by a mere 76 votes:

What next for the PNP?

Should they continue with this leader knowing the inevitable or should they make some drastic decisions for the long-term as, from all indications, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is likely to win the next general election.

We've seen where some great teams dominated for long periods and then disappear into obscurity and irrelevance.

Our West Indies cricket team is one such, with Manchester United also showing similar signs of decline.

The PNP, if not careful, could be like the great WI cricket team that is now at the bottom of the ICC test ranking.

From the results of the last leadership election it is obvious that Dr Peter Phillips is not as convincingly popular in the party as he should be, with a mere 51 per cent majority of the delegates' votes. Half of the delegates approved and the other half disapproved of him.

WI cricket team's fall was from failing to make the necessary adjustments and changes. While the other teams were using technology in videos and bowling machines to counter our pace bowling, we did not make good use of technology, in fact it took us years after to get a bowling machine and that was when Australia started to dominate with the Steve Waugh-led side.

Manchester United failed to have the proper understudy to Sir Alex Ferguson and now they are changing coaches every year in their attempt to remain relevant.

The PNP is not there yet but it's heading there if they fail to act decisively. They are becoming like the JLP under Eddie Seaga. Even though Seaga was not liked by the Jamaican electorate, he remained as leader and lost six elections until he was removed under duress and replaced by Bruce Golding.

Jamaica is a leadercentric society and the PNP must simply find a leader that is liked by Jamaicans. Peter Phillips is not the one. There are several strategies that can be used; drastic yes, but necessary given the circumstances:

1) The National Executive Council (NEC) of the PNP, along with other stalwarts of the party, could meet with Peter Phillips and have him agree that he's not popular enough to command the respect and authority in the party given the slim 51 per cent majority of the delegates who supported him. They must tell him frankly that he's not popular enough to win the next election with a 26 per cent popularity rating. If this is accepted, then at the next convention they can call for a leadership election and select a new leader.

2) Given the narrow margin of victory by Peter Phillips, someone can open the door for another election by staging a challenge, even if the person is not considered a viable candidate as that would allow other serious candidates to enter. Karl Blythe did it to Portia Simpson Miller when Peter Bunting wanted to challenge but changed his mind. He's unlikely to change his mind this time around, given that he only lost by a whisker and he could not be blamed for this challenge.

Other members like Damion Crawford, Phillip Paulwell, Lisa Hanna and Dr Wykeham McNeill could make use of the opportunity to enter the race.

Seeing the obvious and doing it is like walking into the oncoming traffic on the highway. The PNP has an urgent decision to make. Should they just allow Dr Peter Phillips to lead or should they select a more popular leader? The answer is obvious.