Bitter finish to PNP race

Bitter finish to PNP race

So-called dons further ignite presidential contest hours before delegates vote


Friday, September 06, 2019

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The contention marring the presidential race in the People's National Party (PNP) became even more bitter yesterday with claims by the Peter Bunting-led Rise United team that “washed-up so-called dons” have been attempting to influence the delegates in favour of the OnePNP candidate and current party president Dr Peter Phillips.

But campaign manager for OnePNP Natalie Neita said her team has no idea about who are washed-up dons and no idea of who has the authority to refer to any Comrade as washed-up.

“I am not familiar with any dons or dons who are washed-up,” Neita told the Jamaica Observer.

“The OnePNP, which is united and strong at this point, has all members of the People's National Party and there is no Comrade who is better than others. There is none who is washed-out or washed-in. We are all Comrades, united, strong and we are powerful together,” added Neita.

Reports reaching the Observer are that days ago two long-time PNP strongmen, one from east Kingston and the other from Manchester, staged a massive social event in the St Andrew Southern constituency held by the Rise United campaign chairman Mark Golding.

St Andrew Southern is expected to provide more than 40 delegates' votes for Bunting in the presidential race tomorrow, but the visit by the two strongmen could convince some people to stay away from the poll or switch their vote.

“We remind all those who may have forgotten, that the PNP has long turned its face against this type of politics,” said the Rise United team in a release.

“The Rise United campaign warns the OnePNP camp that this approach will not help them and may cause long-term damage to the reputation of our beloved party,” the release added.

According to the Rise United team, it is also disappointed at “the wild and unsubstantiated allegations on a variety of issues, including vote-buying, suddenly being made by senior members of the OnePNP leadership who should know better than to so casually bring the party into disrepute”.

The Rise United team claimed that allegations of vote-buying were similarly made weeks ago on a OnePNP platform in Portmore, St Catherine and Phillips' team has been unable to substantiate those “false and mischievous claims”.

“In virtually every political contest in contemporary times, similar allegations have been made. Indeed, the Rise United campaign has received credible reports of delegates receiving offers of money from the OnePNP campaign to solicit their support, however, we have chosen to address those matters internally,” said the release.

Yesterday, the campaign manager for OnePNP refused to be drawn into further discussion of the vote-buying allegations raised by her team on Wednesday as she argued that they were past that.

“Persons would have their own experience with this vulgar way of doing things and I am not even harping on it. I am about ensuring that Jamaica and the delegates are fully aware that we have the better candidate.

“This vote-buying issue is not going to get them anywhere. On Saturday it will be settled and it will be settled unequivocally. I am sure we have the better candidate, the man of integrity and the better performer,” declared Neita.

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