PNP trying for clean campaign in Kingston CentralTuesday, May 28, 2019
The five individuals seeking to replace Ronald Thwaites as the People's National Party (PNP) representative in Kingston Central yesterday signed the party's Code of Conduct for Internal Elections, in an effort to avoid the guttersniping which has marred some of its contests in the past.
Former members of parliament Raymond Pryce and Paul Buchanan, Imani Duncan-Price, Donald Jackson and Joan Porteous pledged to conduct their campaigns “in such a manner as to enhance the democratic tradition and reputation of the party”.
They further pledged to “if elected, promote the unity of the party, and if unsuccessful, to abide by the outcome and give full support to the leadership of the person duly elected”.
In a brief signing ceremony at the PNP's Old Hope Road headquarters yesterday, PNP Deputy Chairman Horace Dalley hinted that candidates could be kicked out of the race for breaching the rules of engagement.
“This Code of Conduct is something that the People's National Party is very serious about, and any breach will attract severe consequences,” warned Dalley, who is among three people who will form an oversight committee for the election.
The other members of the oversight committee are Leader of Opposition Business in the Senate Donna Scott-Mottley and former Member of Parliament Ambassador Aloun N'dombet Assamba.
“This committee will monitor the activities, the pronouncements, the social media posts, and all the campaign activities of the five Comrades who are going to be involved in trying to replace Comrade Ronald Thwaites,” said Dalley.
Addressing the signing ceremony, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson noted that roughly 600 delegates are on the preliminary voters' list to select the party's candidate to contest the next general election in Kingston Central.
Robinson underscored that Thwaites will remain in the seat for the duration of this term and will work closely with the person given the nod by the delegates.
In outlining some of the rules of engagement, Robinson warned that supporters of the candidates will also be expected to respect their opponents.
According to Robinson, the candidates, their supporters and surrogates are mandated to avoid personal attacks on their opponents, teams and supporters.
“So we are holding the candidates responsible for the actions of those persons who support them. (The candidates shall) conduct their campaigns with integrity and shall refrain from using defamatory or inflammatory language towards his or her opponents,” said Robinson.
He added that the candidates should “refrain from seeking any votes by threats, bribery, or other improper means or inducements”.
Robinson further noted that the candidates are mandated to keep an accurate record of all campaign funds received and to ensure that they do not take money from tainted sources.
The candidates will have seven days after the June 22 selection contest to account for the money spent.
The PNP general secretary also said that the preliminary voters' list would have been provided to the candidates yesterday, with them having until Friday to register any concerns, before the final list is issued next Monday.
He noted that the time and venue of the contest have not yet been decided, but promised that the delegates will vote somewhere centrally located in the constituency.