Horne does not support Bunting challenging Phillips

Horne does not support Bunting challenging Phillips

BY HG HELPS
Editor-at-Large
helpsh@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 01, 2019

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FORMER treasurer of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP), Norman Horne, while admitting that he admires Peter Bunting and the role that he is playing as a businessman in the Jamaican economy, is against the Manchester Central Member of Parliament challenging sitting president, Dr Peter Phillips, for the party's most senior post.

Horne, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer last week, said that while it is Bunting's constitutional right to put himself forward to lead the 81-year-old PNP, he has always been against anyone challenging a sitting leader.

“I hope that there will be more Mr Buntings in politics because he is a successful businessman who is focusing on the development of the economy. He is also a nationalist. But I am not supporting Mr Bunting's bid. I am neither with him or against him. I admire him, I admire his ambitions, but there are some other fundamental issues. I don't believe that, unless there is a vacancy, you should challenge a sitting president. And that's why I didn't support Peter Phillips when he challenged Portia (Simpson Miller) as a sitting president,” Horne revealed to the Sunday Observer.

“Maybe if there was a vacancy, or if Bunting had challenged when there was a vacancy, it would have been different. But since there is not a vacancy, I don't support something like that, whether in the past or in the future. So it's not a personalised thing with Mr Bunting. It's just my own personal position. I think that if a president is not performing, then the party needs to get together and ask that person to improve or step down. But it has to be the party coming together, and the party can do it,” said Horne, the executive chairman of ARC Manufacturing Ltd.

But in his last point related to what is happening in the PNP now.

“Assuming Mr Bunting wins tomorrow, next September someone can challenge him, then the following September someone can challenge him. The constitution is there, I agree, but it's not everything in the PNP Constitution that I agree with. For example, I don't agree that we are organised as a party for socialist purposes. I don't believe there is anything socialist about the party and I think that that should be yanked out of it.

“When I go through the constitution, there are a number of areas that I disagree with. I believe that it should be reformed, and when you talk about reform, you talk about the Jamaican Constitution too, that requires serious reform also. The Jamaica Constitution was formed back in the 1960s and was relevant at that time, but certainly not relevant today. It needs a deep dive to reform the constitution in the same way the PNP Constitution is coming from 1938, and so the things that obtained then are not necessarily relevant now.

“I can understand that the PNP at the time (was formed) to serve the masses of Jamaica, so they decided on a class of people that they wanted to serve. That doesn't obtain today. The PNP has to serve all Jamaicans today. Sometimes, not because it's written means that it's the best practice, and not because it's the convention means that it is ideal for Jamaica,” Horne put forward.

The man who has represented the Jamaica Labour Party and the PNP in general elections is still a member of the PNP, but is not a delegate and, naturally, does not have a vote in next Saturday's election to choose a party president.

Always one to contribute, Horne still gives service to the PNP, upon request.

“If I am asked to do some research on something, I will do it for the party. If I am asked for an opinion on matters I will give that. If I am asked to make a financial contibuition, depending on what it is for ...and it has to be for something specific, I will give if I can,” he stated.

And regarding the question of whether or not he still has an interest in serving the people through the House of Representatives, Horne has not given up on that. His name was linked to the contentuous Kingston Central seat earlier this year, but he informed Phillips that he had certain business interests that he needed to handle before he could consider entering representational politics again.

“What I want to do first is to take two companies public in Jamaica — ARC Manufacturing and ARC Properties. After taking those two companies public, I will do probably what Mr Bunting has done and probably jump in politics full time. I reserve that option. Now, the focus is on going public with the companies, which hopefully will be wrapped up in 12 months.

“I just don't want to have a constituency in Parliament all for the sake of having a seat. I want to run a constituency because as the executive and the legislature rep for the constituency, I can make a fundamental impact on the growth of the constituency. That would have to be the primary reason for me if I decided to contest.”

Horne has contested national elections for the JLP in Manchester Central and the PNP in St Elizabeth South East.


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