Tuesday 24 November, 2020

Lisa Hanna gains crucial support in lead-up to PNP presidential poll

Lisa Hanna

Lisa Hanna

Four People's National Party (PNP) parliamentary representatives have signalled their intention to support Lisa Hanna in her bid to become president of the party.

The four Members of Parliaments (MP) have been seen in a video at what appeared to be a meeting of Hanna's presidential campaign, which has been dubbed 'Bring Back Di Love'.

The supporting parliamentarians are: Natalie Neita, MP for North Central St Catherine; Dr Morais Guy, MP for Central St Mary; Denise Daley, MP for East St Catherine; and Mikael Phillips, MP for North West Manchester.

All four were seen greeting Hanna in the video that was posted by her on her various social media platforms.

Interestingly and more crucially to the Hanna campaign, Guy is the Chairman of the PNP's Region Two, which is made up of the parishes of St Mary, Portland and St Thomas, while Region Four, which is made up of Clarendon and St Catherine, is chaired by Daley.

Dr Morais Guy

Additionally, Phillips is a Vice-President of the PNP, while Neita is a Deputy General Secretary.

Hanna, the MP for South East St Ann, and Mark Golding of South St Andrew, are the two contenders so far in the race to head the 82-year-old political party.

Meanwhile, some councillors have also backed Hanna's bid for presidency of the PNP.

Among them are Audrey Facey-Smith, Councillor of the Payne Land Division in South West St Andrew, where Dr Angela Brown-Burke is the Member of Parliament.

Denise Daley

Of note, Brown-Burke has endorsed Golding's bid to be the PNP’s leader.

"She (Hanna) knows every little corner shop. She guh siddung pan every little dirty floor and she just reason with people. Now if that isn't somebody who is a people person, I don't know who is," Facey-Smith said in the video.

"But most importantly, Jamaica is asking for Lisa (Hanna)," she added.

Audie 'Champy' Myers, Councillor of the Siloah Division in North East St Elizabeth, endorsed Hanna by suggesting that "Jamaica is saying Lisa. The world is saying Lisa. Comrades, when you look at the youth population, they are saying Lisa.

"I Champy Myers endorse my friend and sister, Lisa Hanna, to be the next president of the People's National Party..." he resoundingly affirmed.

Councillor for the Beecher Town Division in Hanna's South East St Ann Constituency, Ian Bell, has also given his support to her.

Mikael Phillips

Also seen shaking Hanna's hand on the platform is Councillor for the Papine Division, Venesha Phillips. Her address to the audience was not shown.

In response to the endorsements, Hanna said she was "very humbled".

Overall, she said: "Today I am very humbled to be standing in front of you, because I recognise the tremendous responsibility, and also the high expectations you place on my shoulders to deliver. And I tell you, I will not let you down," she asserted in her presentation to those gathered.

The near two-minute video was tingled throughout with the hit song, ‘It's A Love Thing’, by American soul group, The Whispers.

Following a meeting of the PNP's National Executive Council (NEC) on Sunday, September 27, Hanna announced her intention to run for president.

It was the same day too, that the NEC announced that the delegates of the party will select a new president on November 7 of this year.

In a release that followed her announcement, Hanna stated that "the PNP is at a crossroads and Jamaica expects us to meet the moment.

Natalie Neita

"The party must begin the internal healing process immediately and move forward together in unity, if we are to be the strong Opposition the country needs now," she argued.

Hanna postulated that the strategy of moving forward for the PNP must include "the widest consultation and inclusiveness to shape the future of the people's party and the future government it will form."

Hanna was declared winner of the South East St Ann seat by a margin of 31 votes after a magisterial recount that was requested by Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate, Delroy Granston.

But despite her meagre victory margin, she has affirmed that "not only am I the person (who) can lead the party to regain the confidence of all our people, but the woman (who) will."

She also said since the September 3 General Elections, she has been active with her councillor candidates in her constituency.

"The people of SESA (South East St Ann) and I are committed to working together in building bridges and improving our foundation. This I believe may serve as a catalyst in improving and transforming the party, as I must lead by example," she asserted.

Hanna further argued that the party had been "distracted by internal conflict for too long, and it has kept us away from our purpose, and the people of Jamaica have seen that, they have told us so loudly.

"Let us bring back the love and reimagine the party's purpose and chart our path collectively for 2020 and beyond," she charged.

Her opponent, Golding, is being supported by key PNP figures, including Brown-Burke, Patricia Duncan-Sutherland, Joan Gordon-Webly and Peter Bunting.

Former MP for South West Clarendon and PNP Vice-President, Noel Arscott, and Scean Barnswell and Anthony Oconner, long-time councillors within the parish, have also announced their support for Golding.

And a week ago, Lydia Richards, the Councillor for the Bensonton Division in Hanna's South East St Ann constituency, signalled her support for Golding in a leaked voice note.

The move resurrected the old wounds and division between Hanna and her present councillors, including Richards. The latter was part of a failed move to have the Miss World 1993 winner turned parliamentarian ousted from the seat in 2015, when she unsuccessfully challenged Hanna to represent the PNP in the 2016 General Elections.

Hanna, a four-term parliamentary representative, has, however, committed to running a clean campaign for the PNP presidency, and has called on "all other contenders to do the same to avoid rancour, divisiveness, and unnecessary contentiousness."

The developments in the PNP follow the party’s bruising defeat to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in the September 3 polls, in which the JLP claimed 49 seats to the PNP's 14.

A day later, Peter Phillips announced his intention to resign as Opposition Leader and PNP President, fulfilling a promise he made on Election Day, to go if he lost at the polls.

Phillips is to remain in both positions until the conclusion of the party's internal presidential race.

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