Hanna moves to heal old wounds; nominated for PNP's top job

Hanna moves to heal old wounds; nominated for PNP's top job


Thursday, October 22, 2020

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THE marching bands, music trucks and massive crowds which bookended the nominations of Dr Peter Philips and Peter Bunting for the top job in the People's National Party (PNP) last year were all missing yesterday as 45-year-old Lisa Rene Hanna was nominated for the post.

But the enthusiasm of Hanna's supporters, those who were part of her official delegations and those who ignored her plea to stay home, was still evident as she officially started her bid to become the sixth president of the 82-year-old political party when PNP delegates vote on November 7.

With her nomination form and $100,000 nomination fee accepted by the party's general secretary Julian Robinson, it was an upbeat Hanna who faced her supporters gathered outside the party's Old Hope Road, St Andrew, headquarters and later at the car park of the National Indoor Centre.

While thanking her supporters for their backing, Hanna repeatedly underscored the threat that COVID-19 posed and urged them to observe the protocols.

“I am sorry that I could not carry all 3,000 of you and I realise that despite my telling you about COVID, unnu still come out. I want to thank you for your enthusiasm, but I also want to caution you to keep your distance,” said Hanna to supporters at the stadium complex who greeted her with the 2002 hit song by Shaggy, Strength of a Woman, a favourite of the PNP's first female president Portia Simpson Miller.

“We come now at time in Jamaica's moment and history with great uncertainty, because now Jamaica is at a moment and a period where many people don't know how they are going to move forward. COVID has disrupted our lives and now many persons are looking to the People's National Party for hope,” added Hanna.

She argued that it is the PNP which has always put poor Jamaicans at the centre of the country's development and declared that, despite the party's recent crushing defeat at the polls, the people are again looking to the party.

“We had a little lapse on September third and now we are at a moment where you are going to vote for a leader who is compassionate, who is courageous, who is loving, and who has the ability to create the policies that every single Comrade will benefit and who has the ability to unite this movement.

“Because, Comrades, make no mistake, I am experienced. I have worked in every constituency… I have been a Member of Parliament going into my fourth term and I have been an opposition member for three terms and I don't like opposition. I don't like seeing the PNP in opposition. I want to take the PNP and our Comrades back to Jamaica House and I know I have the ability to organise and get us back into Jamaica House,” said Hanna, to loud cheers.

Earlier, Hanna had told journalists that she was confident but humbled as she takes aim at the leadership of “the most enduring and the best political movement in the western hemisphere”.

According to Hanna, she is seeking to become the PNP's president on behalf of every Jamaican.

“I think every Jamaican needs to understand that… at this moment in our history our leaders have to be responsible, courageous, confident and compassionate. So, while I am confident, it is not lost on me that I will be leading at a very critical time in our nation's history,” said Hanna, who has dubbed her campaign “Bring Back Di Love”.

Hanna said she is reaching out to all members of the PNP, including those who are not now supporting her campaign.

“Moving forward, we are pressing the reset button in the PNP. We are going forward to make sure that we have an open-door policy, certainly from our perspective. We are making sure that we reposition in the minds of all Jamaicans, that it is the PNP that has the programmes, the missions, the understanding [and] that we are the best movement to take their lives forward,” declared Hanna, who has been described as among the more divisive members of the leadership of the PNP.

Nominations for the PNP's top job close on Friday when the MP for St Andrew Southern Mark Golding is scheduled to be nominated.

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