Last lick!

Last lick!

One PNP & Rise United head to two of the party's Corporate Area strongholds for final major mass rallies

Sunday, September 01, 2019

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The ghost of the 2008 People's National Party (PNP) presidential race between Portia Simpson Miller and Dr Peter Phillips will loom large today as the combatants for the 2019 presidential contest stage their last major public meetings.

In 2008 Simpson Miller, the then sitting PNP president, trounced Phillips by more than 300 votes.

This time around Phillips is the sitting president and enjoys the support of several Comrades, who backed Simpson Miller then, including Lisa Hanna and Natalie Neita, both Members of Parliament. But Phillips has also lost some of his strongest allies over the years, with Dr Fenton Ferguson being among the most notable.

But just like in 2008, the two camps will head to two of the PNP's strongest constituencies in the Corporate Area for their final mass rallies, with both sides pulling out all their influential supporters.

There are also whispers in PNP circles that the 'Rise United' team could unveil a major surprise this evening, with an endorsement from a nationally popular Comrade, who is no longer active on the ground.

The Phillips-led 'One PNP' team will have its last major public meeting in his St Andrew East Central constituency, while the Bunting-led Rise United will meet in Simpson Miller's former St Andrew South West constituency.

“This is shaping up to be a very close race and both sides will go out to convince every single one of the 2,900 plus delegates to vote for them,” one senior PNP insider, who asked not to be named told the Jamaica Observer.

“This is the kind of race that could be decided on the day as both sides will be trying to swing things in their favour them, although it appears to be advantage Phillips at this point,” added the Comrade, who is leaning One PNP but who could Rise on Saturday.

In the meantime, there are reports of massive war chests being prepared for the election process at National Arena come Saturday.

“Delegates will be taken from all parts of the island with music, food and liquor being planned for those who come out to vote and the thousands of supporters who will hopefully cause others to switch their votes.

“This will be one of the biggest spending on the day for an internal election every. Not saying that there will be vote buying but each camp is going to ensure that their delegates are well taken care of,” said the PNP insider.

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