Monday 14 October, 2019

Phillips, Bunting embrace in show of unity after bitter contest

Peter Bunting (left) and his party leader and President, Dr Peter Phillips, in a show of unity at the People's National Party's (PNP) annual conference at the National Arena on Sunday. (Photos: Marlon Reid)

Peter Bunting (left) and his party leader and President, Dr Peter Phillips, in a show of unity at the People's National Party's (PNP) annual conference at the National Arena on Sunday. (Photos: Marlon Reid)

People’s National Party (PNP) President, Dr Peter Phillips, and Central Manchester Member of Parliament (MP), Peter Bunting, met in the days following the bruising leadership battle between them that recently threatened to divide the Opposition party.

They even attended church together last Sunday as part of the healing process.

However, Sunday, September 22, marked the first time the two were being seen together publicly on the same political platform since the September 7 presidential election, and the occasion was the party’s 81st annual conference inside the National Arena in St Andrew.

The party’s leadership has been keen on presenting a united front following the presidential race that saw Phillips retaining the presidency by a narrow margin.

Shortly after he began his address to the thousands inside and outside the arena, Phillips said the party has had a challenging year, but has emerged stronger for it.

“In the last few months the comrades have proven again that the party’s internal democracy is alive and strong,” he said.

After congratulating all those who participated in the internal elections, Phillips made a promise.

“I will be president for all the party, not just for some, and I will operate with bias towards none, and justice for all,” he stated.

Bunting was not left out.

“Comrade Peter Bunting led an intense and spirited challenge. I give him my respect and I salute him,” Phillips said to sustained applause and the blowing of horns from the jam-packed arena.

After literally saluting Bunting, Phillips beckoned for the MP, who was seated on the platform, to join him at the podium, where both men shook hands and embraced.

“He and I have met. I have listened to the issues raised in the campaign, and we are taking all positive ideas on board to build a stronger People’s National Party.

“He and I, indeed all the officers, all the members of the executive in all the regions and the constituencies, have much to do to build the party and to rescue the country,” Phillips said.

“We have to embrace new ways of doing things,” he added.

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: