PNP's next battleground

REC meetings provide stage for 'Rise United' and 'One PNP' to square-off

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

Sunday, August 25, 2019

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The People's National Party (PNP) is on tenterhooks today as the shadow of the Dr Peter Phillips and Peter Bunting presidential contest looms over scheduled annual general meetings of its six Regional Executive Councils (REC).

Today's meetings are slated to get an update on the PNP's recent national consultation on crime prevention and reduction, presentations on its declared covenant with the people and the proposed changes to the party's constitution.

But those could be overshadowed by the election of officers as the Phillips-led “One PNP” team and the Bunting-led “Rise United” team move to ensure their supporters hold the key posts.

Several Comrades last week expressed concern that the bitter presidential race now underway could spill over into the REC meetings this afternoon, leading to a rash of challenges for the regional leadership positions.

“Comrades can nominate from the floor for any of the positions and it could get ugly if there are challenges based on who supports One PNP and who supports Rise United,” one senior PNP member told the Jamaica Observer.

“Four of the six sitting regional chairs — Morais Guy, Region Two; Sophia Frazer Binns, Region Three; Denise Daley, Region Four; and Dwayne Vaz, Region Six — have already endorsed Dr Peter Phillips while another, Victor Wright, who chairs Region One, is expected to endorse him today.

“I think Hopeton McCathy (the Region Five chairman) is also going with Phillips but since he is from a part of the Bunting stronghold, he will not come out and make any announcement,” added the PNP insider.

Up to late last week there was no confirmation of any challenge, but word out of Region Two was that Dr Shane Alexis, the party's caretaker for the St Mary South East, was testing the waters for a potential move against Guy.

“That is a very real possibility but if Shane goes he is unlikely to succeed as Guy is well-loved by the Comrades in St Mary. Guy will also get strong support from St Thomas even if he does not carry the Portland delegates. What Shane should be doing is concentration on how to win his seat.

“In addition, that contest would not reflect the presidential race as both Guy and Shane have endorsed Phillips,” the PNP insider said.

Efforts to reach Dr Alexis or REC Region Two REC secretary Trudy Philp for a comment were unsuccessful.


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