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Absence of Bunting supporters from PNP's anti-corruption vigil sets tongues wagging

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 12, 2019

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THERE was a noticeable absence of high profile supporters of Peter Bunting during the People's National Party's (PNP) anti-corruption vigil in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew, yesterday morning, but the party's General Secretary Julian Robinson has downplayed the significance.

Bunting has announced his intention to challenge for the post of PNP president in September, and there are at least eight sitting Members of Parliament already lined up behind him.

Yesterday, as the party launched the first in what it says will be a series of events to highlight the unacceptable level of corruption in the Government, only the outgoing Member of Parliament for Kingston Central, Ronald Thwaites — of the Bunting parliamentary backers — was present.

But Robinson told the Jamaica Observer that this was not cause for concern.

“Remember, this is Region Three (the Corporate Area), and we focussed on the Region Three constituencies. All of them have leadership here and have mobilised people here,” he said, even though some rural MPs who support Phillips, including Lisa Hanna, Morais Guy and Wykeham McNeill were among the protesters.

“This is a PNP activity. It is not one camp or the other. We are united in our drive against corruption and everybody in the party is behind this,” Robinson maintained.

“I started the issue of Petrojam in Parliament [in] March last year and it has been carried by (members of) the PAC (Public Accounts Committee), the PAAC (Public Administration and Appropriations Committee), people who support either candidate. So I think it has been a united front on the issue of corruption in the party,” he added.

In the meantime, Robinson expressed satisfaction with the solid support for the anti-corruption vigil, particularly the number of people not known as PNP supporters who turned out.

“I think the reality is that Jamaicans are now appreciating the impact that corruption is having on them. Many people tend to be ambivalent and say, 'It don't affect me', but when it is back-to-school in September and you can't find the fee and every day we are finding out how deep the scandal surrounding the former education minister is… people have a limit as to how much they can take,” said Robinson.

With the protesters in high spirits yesterday, one vocal bus driver earned their wrath as he loudly shouted that the PNP could not talk about scandals.

More quietly, a passing pedestrian whispered that the PNP's anti-corruption protest was a waste of time.

“None a wi nuh born wid hair in wi hands so di whole a wi a thief,” said the man to the person walking beside him.

“After the JLP nuh thief no more than the PNP. Dem fi go home go look something fi do,” his colleague replied with a quick glance around to see if he had been overheard by any of the Comrades.


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