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Bunting confirms he's stepping down as PNP gen sec

Garfield Myers

Monday, February 03, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Peter Bunting yesterday confirmed that he will be stepping aside as general secretary of the ruling People's National Party (PNP) as soon as his replacement his chosen.

It's a process he expects to be completed "no later than March".

Bunting made the announcement at an "expanded" meeting of the party's National Executive Council (NEC) at the Manchester High School in Mandeville yesterday, putting an end to recent speculation.

Bunting reminded the meeting, which included party leader and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller that he had said in 2012 that he would not lead the party's organisational structure into a next general election.

With that in mind, he later told the Jamaica Observer that he felt the time had come for a new general secretary "to start the preparation and groundwork for selecting candidates and to put the machinery in place for the next local government election, due next year, and general election due by 2017".

Bunting, who is minister of national security and member of parliament for Central Manchester, said that he expects his replacement to be chosen "no later than the next scheduled NEC meeting" in March.

"Six years (as general secretary) is a long time," said Bunting, by way of emphasising his belief that his decision to walk had been made at the right time.

He expressed satisfaction with his record as general secretary. He noted that the recommendations made by a Brian Meeks-led committee for "modernising the party's secretariat and the rebuilding of unity within the party" among a number of measures, had been "accomplished".

"I can pass on the baton satisfied that I have moved the process forward," Bunting told the Observer.

The "litmus test", he argued, were "historic victories in the 2011 parliamentary elections and 2012 local government elections". The December 2011 parliamentary victory was not only a "landslide but the first time an opposition party was returning to government after one term in Opposition," Bunting recalled.

Further, he said, the local government victory "was perhaps the most extensive and comprehensive" with every local authority falling under the control of the PNP.

He dismissed recent speculation in some quarters that he may be contemplating moving from Central Manchester to a perceived

safer seat.

"Absolutely not! I have no intention of moving from Central Manchester," said Bunting. "I expect now to spend more time (within the constituency) and to continue to consolidate...," he said.

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