As the crisis deepens in the PNP there has been a potential challenge to the leadership of Portia for the top spot in the PNP.
Portia said she is going no where. “Is it because of my gender? … I am fitter than many younger persons than me” as she fights back at a press briefing called by the PNP. “Others have lost elections and have not been asked to step aside” she asserted. Portia is 70 and has been at the helm of the PNP for 10 years. (from 2006). Portia is in representational politics for over forty years. She started as a Parish Councillor at the Local Government level.
Speaking on radio Bunting confirmed his ambition to challenge Portia as party leader. He gave little details but said “I would prefer for her (Portia) to leave on her own timetable”. Bunting said he and Portia enjoyed a good “personal relationship.”
Further to the motion to unseat Paul Burke as General Secretary, there is even more moves to shake up the leadership of the PNP going forward. Peter Bunting has publicly stated his position to offer himself for the Presidency of the PNP.
Bunting’s move, if successful, would replace Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller as party President. She is 70 and led a one term government that lost on February 25, 2016 to the JLP’s led Andrew Michael Holness who is now Prime Minister.
Bunting is fearing any possible backlash if it were perceived by Portia loyalists that she is being pushed aside for a younger person. It should be noted that Portia still enjoys strong support within the ranks of the PNP especially at the grassroots level. Many voters can readily
identify with Portia who came from relative obscurity to the top job as Prime Minister. Portia herself never fails to draw the “humble background” card.
Chang, a public commentator has lauded Bunting’s move as “positive” for the PNP.
Since the loss to the JLP, the PNP appears to be in turmoil and a Review Committee chaired by Julian Robinson, deputy General Secretary has been set up to examine the reasons for the defeat.
It has been rumoured for some time that Bunting who is 55 was eying the top leadership job in the PNP.
Will Dr. Peter Phillips throw his hat in the ring?
Bunting was an investment banker and businessman, prior to entering politics. He is the MP for Central Manchester and was former General Secretary of the PNP. The two term Central Manchester MP was a Cabinet member and was appointed National Security Minister in the Portia Simpson Miller Cabinet/ administration.
Stay tuned to Vision for the latest in this unfolding drama. We hope it will not get nasty.
We have to be weary of those with the Christian name “Peter” … they have deceived and betrayed. Haven’t they?
The PNP today is as strange and unpredictable as Portia Simpson Miller’s thinking, eh!
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & Photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.