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PNP steps up campaign for local elections

BY KASEY WILLIAMS
Observer staff reporter
kaseyw@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 19, 2021

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — With the deadline for local government elections just three months away, p resident of the People's National Party (PNP) Mark Golding says its campaign is intensifying.

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 said the party's candidates are on the ground mobilising supporters in preparation for the election following a tour of divisions in Manchester on Wednesday.

“We are always improving, always tweaking, but all our candidates know exactly what is expected of them and we are monitoring their actions and ensuring that they are doing what they should be doing. I wouldn't say the work has finished, [but] the work is really intensifying now. We are turning it up a notch,” he said.

“We have been in Region Five twice, but we are going to be in Region Four coming up shortly, so we are moving around,” he added.

He said the response from supporters has been “interesting and rewarding”.

“The people want to see us and they are looking forward to us coming back in office, so many of our supporters came out and they are saying 'coming back stronger'. We are going to remind them what the PNP is all about, so we are looking forward to whatever test we have to face,” he said.

Golding, who defeated Lisa Hanna in a bruising contest for leadership of the PNP last November, said he is not focused on naysayers' comments about disunity.

“I'm not focused on that at all. We spent a year working on that and we are now focused on what we have to do and we are on the ground. It is time for action and everybody who wants to be part of it is part of it. We are moving forward together,” he said.

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.

Golding has in recent weeks frequently visited Region Five (Manchester and St Elizabeth) which saw the PNP winning just one seat. The lone victory came for Mikael Phillips in Manchester North Western. Losses in Manchester included traditional strongholds, Manchester Central and Manchester Southern.

Manchester has 15 local government divisions, of which eight are held by the PNP and the other seven by the JLP. In neighbouring St Elizabeth the JLP has nine seats and the PNP six.