No disrespect!

Bunting vows to avoid personal attacks

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

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CHALLENGER for the post of People's National Party (PNP) president Peter Bunting maintains that despite his decision to challenge for the party's top job, he harbours no ill feeling towards the incumbent, Dr Peter Phillips.

Some supporters of the two Peters have engaged in a nasty quarrel, mainly on social media, since Bunting announced his intention to throw his hat into the ring, but the Manchester Central Member of Parliament on Sunday declared that he and Phillips are colleagues, first.

“The word is love. We are on the same side. We are in a contest now and in that contest we are opponents, but in the bigger contest we are colleagues, and I only have the best regards towards Dr Phillips. There is absolutely going to be no disrespect and no personal attacks, or anything of the sort in our campaign,” said Bunting during whistle stops in Clarendon on Sunday.

“Yes, we had to justify why the challenge had to be made because there is not a long tradition of challenges, so there must be a clear justification for the challenge,” added Bunting who, when he announced his decision to challenge, argued that it was in the best interest of the party and the country.

At that time, Bunting claimed that while Phillips has made an outstanding contribution to the party and the country in the various positions, “since becoming president, he has not implemented a single transformational initiative within the party, and is just not seen as the right person for this time”.

He also said then: “There is also a growing acceptance/resignation in the general public and among various stakeholder groups, including party membership and supporters, civil society and private sector leadership, that the PNP, under Dr Peter Phillips' leadership, cannot defeat the JLP in a general election. This will have negative consequences for voter support, organisational energy and party/campaign funding.”

On Sunday, Bunting charged that since his 'Rise United' campaign has been launched, there has been more energy in the PNP than over the past three years.

“This decision to contest for the leadership of the party is not so much about me; it was really answering a call from the base of the party. Whenever you go to a Comrades night, whenever you go to a grave digging, whenever you go to a REC (Regional Executive Council), the call from the Comrades on the ground is that we have to do something.

“We can't allow this drift, this malaise in the party to continue, otherwise we are going to a certain defeat … and so we are now convinced that it was the correct thing to do. The people are responding on the ground (and) we are getting encouragement everywhere we go,” declared Bunting.

At the launch of his 'One PNP' campaign last week, Phillips rejected the claim that nothing had been done to energise the party since he took over the leadership and pointed to several initiatives implemented in an attempt to ensure victory at the next election.

“Our strategy is to hold the 29 seats that we have and go for at least an additional 10 seats,” declared Phillips. “We are going to organise seat by seat, community by community, lane by lane, house by house, voter by voter to engage the citizens in the target seats to vote for the People's National Party.”


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