#JLP80th: Venesha Phillips says JLP is the ‘party of the people’, switch should not come as surprise
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Venesha Phillips, People’s National Party (PNP) councillor for the Papine Division, has joined the ruling Jamaica Labour Party.
In an interview with Observer¹ Online on Sunday, Phillips said her decision came after two and a half years of engagement from the governing party and an epiphany that the PNP could not be the vehicle through which she could continue to serve Jamaica.
Speaking at the JLP’s 80th annual conference at the National Arena where she was welcomed as the party’s newest member, Phillips said her decision came after coming to the conclusion that the PNP was not the same party it used to be.
“I had to think about why I was PNP and I had to think about what it is that I want to convey to Jamaica by my actions as a representative. Having looked at the PNP, you will agree with me that it is not the same organisation you are used to from Michael Manley to today,” she said. “It is regrettable that I came to the conclusion that the PNP could not be the vehicle through which I could continue to serve Jamaica at whatever level. I also came to the conclusion that the PNP in its current form is not in the best interest of the people of Jamaica in terms of what is required to move us forward.”
Phillips said that having reviewed the work carried out by Prime Minister Andrew Holness throughout his tenure as the country’s leader, she could relate to his leadership techniques.
“You will hear PNP say it even on platforms, that Andrew Holness is using Michael Manley’s playbook. Think about that message. I had to think about that and I said to myself, that message resonates with me,” she expressed. “The current leadership of the PNP has no use for that message. They have said so and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I would of course follow the message to which I have been grounded and rooted since I was born.”
Highlighting that the country’s political landscape has seen significant growth since Holness took over the reigns as leader of the country, Phillips says the JLP has vision. She went on to say the PNP needs to assess their politics.
“They need to do introspection and assessment of what it is that is before them, where they would like to see Jamaica,” she said. “Certainly the JLP has manifested by its actions to the people of Jamaica that they are indeed the party of the people.”