Paulwell backs Hanna for PNP president
Member of Parliament for South East St Ann, Lisa Hanna, has picked up another major endorsement in her bid to become president of the People’s National Party (PNP). This, as Phillip Paulwell, the longstanding Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal has thrown his support behind her.
Paulwell, a vice president of the Opposition party, announced his decision Tuesday evening following a meeting with his constituency delegates.
Hanna will go up against Mark Golding, the Member of Parliament for South St Andrew, in a delegates’ election on November 7 to decide who will replace Dr Peter Phillips as both PNP president and Opposition leader of the 82-year-old political organisation.
Phillips, 70, has decided to walk away from a decades-long career in politics after he led the PNP to their biggest electoral defeat in 40 years in the September 3 general election, winning just 14 seats to the 49 taken by the Jamaica Labour Party.
According to Paulwell, he carefully considered the leadership issue, including the need for unity and the rebuilding of the party. The veteran MP also noted that he consulted and examined the potential contribution of both aspirants before concluding that Hanna was the better choice to renew and re-energise the PNP.
Although party delegates will have the final say, Paulwell seemed to have been heavily influenced by public opinion polls which indicate that a majority of Jamaicans are of the view that Hanna is best suited to lead the PNP at this time.
“After the record low turnout of 37 per cent in the September 3 general election, I believe it would be unwise to ignore the views expressed by persons, at all demographic levels of the society,” said Paulwell.
Despite throwing his support behind Hanna, Paulwell said he would not be campaigning for her, instead reserving himself to “assist in ensuring a united party once the election is concluded.”
“As is my abiding principle, I pledge my loyalty to the new leader, once elected,” Paulwell stated.
He urged both teams to campaign vigorously, bearing in mind the imperative of unity and the protection of the image and reputation of the party.
The vice president also urged party delegates and supporters to embrace unity and the core values of the PNP, which include “freedom of expression and being tolerant of all views”.
Paulwell said he had great faith in the future of the PNP to reinvent itself under Hanna's leadership and to regain its position as a strong and vibrant political organisation to win elections and lead policy development for the Jamaican people.
Among those backing Hanna are MPs Natalie Neita, Denise Daley, Dr Morais Guy, Mikael Phillips as well as former MP Dwayne Vaz and losing candidate, Dr Andre Haughton.
In Golding’s corner are MPs Dr Angela Brown-Burke and Anthony Hylton and former MPs Noel Arscott, Dr Fenton Ferguson, Dr Dayton Campbell as well as losing candidate Patricia Duncan Sutherland. The former Mayor of May Pen, Scean Barnswell is also backing Golding.