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Is Dr Phillips a weak leader? No, says his son

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

Sunday, August 05, 2018

DR Peter Phillips's critics inside and outside of his Opposition People's National Party often poke the finger of accusation at him about a perceived weakness to mobilise the 80-year-old party to put further pressure on the Government.

But while tongues continue to wag, his flesh and blood, son Mikael, holds a different position.

Depending on whose expectation that the older Phillips is not as strong as a leader ought to be, and that the party is lagging behind and not grabbing opportunities to, proverbially, rub salt into the Government's wounds, Mikael Phillips, the Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western and vice-presidential candidate in next month's internal party election, admitted that while there may be shortcomings, by and large the party leader was doing as well as he expects him to.

“There are some things that I think we could be more aggressive on and some things that I think he as a leader could be more firm on, but every leader has his own management style,” Mikael told the Jamaica Observer during an interview at his St Andrew home last week.

“Michael (Manley) was nothing like Norman (Manley), neither was P J (Patterson) like Michael, nor Portia (Simpson Miller) like PJ, and Peter would not be like Portia nor those who came before him. It would get some used to adapting to his management style. I would do things differently in my own region or constituency as I am more decisive on some things.

So I think that, just like any other Comrade, I have my own concern over some things where he is concerned, but what is clear is that once we all coalesce around the leader and we are speaking on the same voice, once we are clear on the direction that we are going, there is nothing that can stop the People's National Party,” said the younger Phillips, who is willing to wager that his dad has what it takes to lead the party founded in 1938 to victory at the next general poll, due by 2021.

“I know he is capable of leading the party and leading us to victory in the next election. It won't take the leader by himself, though, but he also has to lead the troops in a direction that they need to go”, said Mikael Phillips, the Member of Parliament for Manchester North Western and Chairman of the party's Region Five, which comprises the parishes of Manchester and St Elizabeth along Jamaica's south coast.