Saturday 22 February, 2020

PNP unity not that far away, suggests Kevin O’Brien Chang

Kevin O'Brien Chang

Kevin O'Brien Chang

Political commentator, Kevin O’Brien Chang, has expressed the view that the People’s National Party (PNP) will not remain divided for long, despite the bruising nature of the three-month-long campaign to elect the president of the party.

During the campaigning, insults and accusations were traded almost daily between supporters of Dr Peter Phillips and his OnePNP campaign, and supporters of his challenger, Peter Bunting and his Rise United team, before the delegates voted to keep Phillips in the presidency by a margin of only 76 votes.

At the end of the special delegates’ conference on Saturday at the National Arena in St Andrew, Phillips received 1,427 votes to Bunting’s 1,351, to retain the presidency.

“We have had other leadership campaigns and afterwards there’s lots of words being thrown around. Even the Audley (Shaw)/Andrew (Holness) campaign, when it ended, the Audley people who lost were demanding positions and being arrogant in defeat, and that’s natural,” O’Brien Chang said.

“But afterwards, emotions cooled down and political parties are there to win elections, so the PNP folks will likely say, ‘hold on a second guys, we still want to try and win the next elections no matter what happened, so if we continue to fight against each other, it’s only going to benefit the labourites and the Jamaica Labour Party,'” O’Brien Chang added.

He said while some persons may be of the opinion that the closeness of the victory could divide the PNP, “we don’t know that that will happen”.

O’Brien Chang cited Phillips as the more ideal winner of the two contestants, noting that Phillips enjoyed strong support among the officer corps of the party, and such persons would have had to resign if Bunting had won the contest, “… but with Phillips having won, the structure is still the same essentially.”

Meanwhile, O’Brien Chang said the entire process represents a “triumph for democracy in Jamaica”.

In elaborating, he said “There was a leadership challenge, a democratic right (of the challenger), and everything seems to have gone smoothly.

"You had a pretty close election, a one or two percentage-point victory, and we’ve not had any kind of really antagonistic arguments or any hint of violence or such, so it’s a triumph for Jamaican democracy and we’re lucky that we choose our leaders this way – our national leaders, party leaders,” O’Brien Chang stated.

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