Angela answers the call
Brown Burke launches bid to become PNP's first female chairThursday, October 14, 2021
BY ARTHUR HALL
Former People's National Party (PNP) Vice-President Dr Angela Brown Burke has confirmed that she is throwing her hat into the ring to become the first female chair of the 83-year-old political party.
In recent days there have been increasingly louder whispers that Brown Burke, and at least two other candidates, could face off for the chairman's position at the first meeting of the party's National Executive Council (NEC) after this weekend's Annual Conference.
But while the other prospective candidates are keeping their cards close to their chests, Brown Burke has confirmed her intention and Jamaica Observer sources say her backers are planning a soft launch of her campaign for this evening.
“The truth is that a number of people have been talking to me, encouraging me to go forward and I have answered the call. So I am going to step forward and offer myself to the members of the NEC,” Brown Burke, who is also the Member of Parliament for St Andrew South Western, told the Observer.
With the PNP never having a female chair, Brown Burke accepted that it would be ground breaking if she was given the nod by the NEC members.
“It would be breaking ground at a time when we need to really be breaking ground on a number of other fronts, especially as to where we find ourselves as a party, the work that needs to be done, and what Jamaica is asking of all of us,” added Brown Burke.
She accepted that whoever is elected to the job of chairman will have the task to help make the PNP attractive to electors following its bruising 14-49 seat defeat to the Jamaica Labour Party in the 2020 General Election.
“I believe that one of the things that a lot of people are talking about, and they really want to see us doing, is having the kind of discussions around policies, around the issues, about what is our core mandate, around making sure that we are talking about equity, inclusion, and fairness,” Brown Burke, a former mayor of Kingston, told the Observer.
“I think that one of the things as chairman I would need to do is ensure that we continue those kinds of conversations that show the Jamaican people that we understand their plight and we are sticking with our core philosophies and our core values… and that together we have the back of Jamaicans,” said Brown Burke.
With the PNP still struggling to mend the rifts that emerged during its two latest presidential races, Brown Burke accepts that the chairman will have to be at the centre of the healing process.
But she starts with suspicion hovering around her as she was a strong backer of Mark Golding in his battle with Lisa Hanna for the party's top job, a contest that has left gaping wounds that continue to fester.
“I think that I can help in the healing process,” Brown Burke insisted. “I think every officer in the party, and the chairman in particular, would have a responsibility to make sure that what they do and what they say would actually be proof that we are on that mission of coming together.
“The strife didn't happen overnight and it won't disappear overnight, but I believe that as we continue to do the work together we create that space and we create the opportunity for the unity to be manifested,” declared Brown Burke.
Other potential candidates are yet to declare their hands but Observer sources say the party's acting chairman and former Member of Parliament for Clarendon Northern Horace Daley, as well as sitting Member of Parliament for St Andrew West Central Anthony Hylton are both being nudged by some Comrades to enter the race.