'I am not going anywhere', says Bunting amid rumours of ‘safe seat’
Peter Bunting at centre in foreground. (file photo)
Peter Bunting, the defeated People's National Party (PNP) candidate for Central Manchester in the September 3 General Elections, has indicated that he will not be leaving the constituency.
The statement came amid much speculation in the political sphere that the businessman could be thrust into a safe seat to allow him to assume the leadership of the Opposition party.
However, in a 56-second video posted on his social media platforms late last week, Bunting dismissed those assertions that he would be leaving the Central Manchester seat where he has served three terms as Member of Parliament (MP).
"And let me just say that I am not going anywhere. I still maintain a home in Mandeville, through PROVEN (Investments) we have an exciting project at Bloomfield Park to complete, and I look forward to seeing you all around in the weeks and months to come. One love and one heart," said the former Cabinet minister.
The final count of the votes in Central Manchester saw the Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Rhoda Moy Crawford receiving 8,192 votes to defeat Bunting, who polled 6,939 votes.
A magisterial recount of the Central Manchester constituency has been under way at the Manchester Parish Court after independent candidate, Rohan Chung, filed for the recount, citing that several votes that were cast for him in the elections were unfairly rejected during the first recounting process.
At the end of the preliminary count, Chung was credited with 67 votes. However, he ended up with 49 after the ballots were recounted.
Crawford defeated Chung by 8,143 votes, based on the recounted tally.
Meanwhile, Bunting, in his video, indicated that he has been taking some time to reflect on his future, and expressed gratitude to the people of the constituency for having allowed him to serve them as their parliamentary representative.
He said: "I've already said publicly that I'm taking a little time to reflect on my future, but I don't want too much time to pass without thanking the people of Central Manchester for giving me the opportunity to serve you as Member of Parliament for the last three terms.
"It's been one of the most special periods of my life when I think of all of the great friendships and relationships that I have built that I'll treasure forever," Bunting further shared while congratulating the JLP's Crawford on her victory.
The businessman was considered the heir apparent to Phillips as leader of the PNP.
But with Bunting being one of the many PNP stalwarts losing their seats in the party's crushing defeat to the JLP in the general elections, his possible route to the party leadership has been unclear.
The Old Hope Road, St Andrew-based party is yet to indicate publicly who will lead it since Phillips indicted that he would resign from his roles as PNP and Opposition leader.
There is growing indication, however, that Phillips will stay on as the party leader for some time to ensure a smooth transition to whoever is selected as the new leader.