Golding: PNP ready for municipal electionSunday, June 27, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — President of the People's National Party (PNP) Mark Golding says the party is gearing up for the local government election which was postponed last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Amendments to the Representation of the People Act (ROPA Amendment Act 2020) facilitated postponement of the election — which was due last November — up to February 2022.
Golding, who was on a tour of Manchester last Friday, appeared to suggest that preparations for the poll were helping to heal bitter divisions which have hindered the PNP.
“We have been working on it and preparing for it [local government election] and I am enjoying that process, because it is also a process which enables us to re-energise and reunite the party on the ground, so it is a good process for us to be going through at this time,” said Golding who defeated Lisa Hanna in a bruising contest for leadership of the PNP last November.
That internal presidential contest followed the PNP's heavy defeat to the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in last September's parliamentary election.
Golding succeeded Dr Peter Phillips as president of the PNP. Phillips quit after the party's general election loss.
The PNP president described himself as being “very happy” with the work being done by “co-chairs of the local government elections national campaign team,” Mikael Phillips and Dr Angela Brown-Burke.
“…We have an active process of preparation and it is going well,” Golding told journalists at the Manchester Golf Club, during a break in the tour which was hampered by heavy afternoon rain in Mandeville and surrounding communities.
He said his party's supporters have decided to come back “to the fold” following last September's election defeat, which saw the PNP winning just one seat in its Region Five (Manchester and St Elizabeth). The lone victory came for Mikael Phillips in Manchester North Western. Losses in Manchester included traditional strongholds, Manchester Central and Manchester Southern.
“We have been moving around, but Manchester traditionally has been very strong for the People's National Party, and you know we didn't do very well last September [here]. as you know, we have one out of the four constituencies, but that was an aberration, we are aware of that and we are aware that many of our supporters have recognised that they made a mistake last time by allowing things to continue the way they were and people are now looking forward to the opportunity to show that they have decided to come back to the fold,” said Golding.
The PNP has been on tour in recent weeks, campaigning in sections of the country.
“I have been active on the ground. I was in St James the other day. I have been to Bull Bay. I have been to Clarendon and people will continue to see me… as we move around,” said Golding.
The Opposition eader was joined during the tour by Mikael Phillips, PNP councillors of the Manchester Municipal Corporation, caretakers and other party members.
“Essentially it [tour] is about showing our supporters that we are united and strong, willing and ready,” Golding told journalists.
“We had a good time meeting and greeting them, and they were very happy to see us. We know that the country is going through a very difficult time now. The economy is suffering, and the public health situation is very bad. Prices are going through the roof. The education [system] is completely in a mess, in disarray,” he said.
“Crime is out of control, so people are very turned off and very anxious, frustrated ,and looking for a change for the better…we are looking forward to showing that we are ready for the responsibility of leading the country again and we feel that this is a good opportunity to show ourselves as a united party”, he said.
“Everybody has been saying we have issues…and we have had some issues, but we are pulling it together and everyday it gets better, so I am very optimistic,” he added.