'We are ready to rescue Jamaica,' say PNP VPs
PNP Vice-President Senator Donna Scott-Mottley watches as her fellow VP Ian Hayles makes his contribution at the conference Sunday. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

OOZING with confidence, the leadership of the People's National Party (PNP) say they believe they have what it takes to again form the next Government.

Two PNP vice-presidents echoed this sentiment as they addressed the public session of the People's National Party's (PNP) 85th Annual Conference on Sunday at National Arena in Kingston.

According to Vice-President Ian Hayles, the PNP is united more than ever and is poised to form the next Government.

"We are ready to rescue Jamaica under the leadership of the next prime minister of Jamaica, Comrade Mark Golding. We are ready to take the reins of Government once more," he said as he strained to be heard above the loud, vuvuzela-blowing party supporters.

At the same time, recognising that this feat cannot be achieved without the required votes, Hayles humbly asked for the support of Comrades in electing the PNP to return to Government.

In driving home his point that the PNP will form the better Administration, Hayles mentioned a throng of issues marring the current Administration, including the back-to-school woes wherein "over 20,000 students are missing from school every single day", schools are overcrowded, over 1000 teachers have resigned, and poor health care exists in the country which he said "is on a lifeline".

Hayles further pointed to the difficulties of pensioners in rural Jamaica accessing their funds, the impact high imports are having on farmers, the water and road woes, crime, and the "sky-high" cost of living.

Much like the chorus of a song, after each point Hayles quipped, "That would never happen under the People's National Party."

He also argued that, according to the party's polls, 60 per cent of Jamaicans have said the country is going in the wrong direction, which is indicative of poor leadership.

"This Government is bankrupt of ideas, this Government is bankrupt of a plan to rebuild Jamaica, and this Government is bankrupt of the moral authority to lead this country. For several long years you've never had a seat at the table. For the last seven years the 'haves' have been having more and the 'nots' have been having less," he said.

In the meantime, Hayles said that while there are people who have said that the PNP "nuh ready", he argued that "history is on our side", pointing to the several initiatives that were introduced when his party was in power, including maternity leave and the establishment of the National Health Fund (NHF) and the National Housing Trust.

"The PNP is ready. We live in hope, because our address is 89 New Hope Road. We live in hope. Time come for us to regain the state power of this country. Elect Mark Golding [as] the next prime minister of Jamaica."

Meanwhile, another PNP vice-president, Senator Donna Scott Mottley, reiterated that the time has come to return the PNP to Government, especially as the country embarks on constitutional reform,

"Time come for the People's National Party to lead you into the new republic of Jamaica," she said, noting that the programme of constitutional reform was started by Michael Manley in 1975 "because he said we had to leave the monarchy".

"The promise which you will have to make to the PNP, the promise which you will have to make to the people, the promise which you will have to make to me, is that we, the PNP, shall be the first Government to be elected under a new republic. We the people, we the People's National Party, are going to lead you into a building of a new nation. We the People's National Party will lead you into the building of a new Jamaica where everyone matters; where every little boy and every little girl knows that they can aspire to the highest office in this country. We the People's National Party will signal to everyone that under our leadership the principles of integrity and good governance will be restored. We the People's National Party promise you that we will be a Government in whom you can place your trust," she said.

BY ALECIA SMITH Observer senior reporter

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