Phillips, Bunting to share stage

PNP moves to display united front at public session of 81st Annual Conference

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

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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PRESIDENT of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips will get the star billing, but the man who gave him a run for his money in the recent presidential election, Peter Bunting, will also be a feature act when the party stages the public session of its 81st annual conference at the National Arena on Sunday.

Usually it is party officers and representatives of affiliate groups who are given the chance to address the public session of the annual conference, but with the PNP seeking to present a united front after the bitter race more than one week ago, Bunting will be given a chance to address the thousands of supporters and guests expected to be in attendance.

PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson yesterday hinted that the decision to allow Bunting to address the public session is a part of the healing process for the party after the fractious election campaign.

“It is a process and I think we have started well, and we will continue that process as we demonstrate that the party can heal after that election,” Robinson told a media briefing.

He was supported by PNP Chairman Fitz Jackson who argued that the party has had internal elections in the past which were as bruising as the latest one, but there is confidence that the party will, in due time, move forward.

“But let us be reasonable, disappointments, and the pain from disappointments doesn't disappear suddenly and we recognise that. We are working the processes,” said Jackson as he declared that talks were taking place behind the scenes to ensure that the party is united.

“There is no OnePNP team and no Rise team any more. There is team PNP and all who served in both campaigns recognise that there is one single goal and that is to ensure that the People's National Party is effective in its campaign to ensure it is successful… to have people elect a People's National Party Government to deal with the developmental issues facing our country,” added Jackson.

In the meantime, Robinson noted that the theme of this year's conference is “Work, Organise, Win”, with the acronym “WOW”.

“This was chosen because it best describes where we are now in our renewal process. We have been focusing on strengthening our organisations in the constituencies by putting new candidates in place and a support system of workers to ensure that we are election ready in all of our seats,” said Robinson.

“We are putting in the work in our constituencies [and] we are focused on enumeration and outreach; for us is not about winning an election but ensuring that we are in a position to deliver the policies and programmes on behalf of all Jamaicans,” added Robinson.

On Saturday the party will host the private session of the conference at the Jamaica College auditorium on Old Hope Road in St Andrew.

According to Robinson, at the private session almost 3,000 delegates will discuss, “far reaching policies and programmes, some of which are in the covenant document which was developed last year after a series of consultations. The covenant is to be ratified by annual conference as it will become the base of the party's manifesto as we prepare for the eventuality of a general election”.

The annual conference will also confirm changes which have been made to the party's constitution.


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