Burke shrugs off flak from 'paid social media mercenaries'

BY KIMONE FRANCIS

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

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FORMER general secretary of the People's National Party (PNP) Paul Burke yesterday brushed aside accusations being levelled by Comrades in some quarters that he is a turncoat after the contents of an e-mail in which he criticised the party were leaked to the public.

The e-mail, which ruffled the feathers of several PNP members, pointed to the lack of political work on the ground and was sent to the party's highest decision-making body — the National Executive Council — as a post-by-election analysis, following the PNP's defeat in the recently concluded polls in Portland Eastern.

On Monday evening, PNP supporters, during a peaceful protest in support of the party president Dr Peter Phillips, labelled Burke a traitor and insisted that his membership be revoked.

PNP supporters on social media also blasted Burke for participating in several media interviews which, they said, brought the party into disrepute.

“I don't know what backlash is. You mean the paid social media mercenaries? [They] have very little impact on the ground. It's going to get worse, not better. I'm going to become Mr Unpopular. It's water off the duck's back, trust me,” Burke said, when contacted by the Jamaica Observer.

“They can't do anything to me. I'm not worried about them. I don't need them; they don't need me. The only thing I have is the truth, which I can back up. I don't know what direction the party will go in, but I really believe that the party has to get its message clear. It has to be clear. It has to be consistent. It has to be credible and you must find messengers, whatever that message ends up being, who can carry that message. In other words, I can't carry a message to tell people go to church because I don't go to church,” he said.

Burke, in the e-mail, stated that the PNP's mission, organisation and message need to become one. He said for several years the three have been lacking in the party.

He added that the group structure, which formed an important aspect of the PNP's make-up, has been gradually and systematically breaking down.

Burke, who was general secretary when the PNP lost the February 2016 General Election, said he is now contemplating the release of the main aspects of his 176-page report on that loss.

These include, he said, lessons that should have been learnt, illusions and disruptive truths.


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