Some of Lisa Hanna’s detractors are touting her past affiliation with the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) as a major disqualification for her becoming the next president of the 82-year-old People’s National Party (PNP).
That is nonsense and should not be given any credence.
For over fifteen years, Hanna has remained committed and risen within the party. She has served as an MP for four terms, held a ministry (Youth and Culture) and shadowed one of the leading offices of state (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) all before she was forty-five.
This is a significant accomplishment that cannot be discounted. To go on a flight of fancy that she is some JLP plant, or she still feels bonded to the Andrew Holness- led party is spurious.
During the eighties and much of the nineties, the UK’s Labour Party suffered ignominious defeats at the hands of a Margaret Thatcher led Conservative Party, then followed by John Major.
It was felt that the Labour Party was too doctrinaire, firmly wedded to Michael Foot’s ideas on socialism and big state government and did not encourage free enterprise and individualism.
By the mid-nineties Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – men in their early forties sought to redefine the party, making it more attractive to a younger generation, moving it to the centre and plugging it into the zeitgeist.
Tony Blair became leader of the party aged 41 and at 43, was the youngest person to become Prime Minister since Lord Liverpool became Prime Minister aged forty-two in 1812.
Blair served as Prime Minister for an uninterrupted decade.
After successive electoral defeats and internecine fighting and finger-pointing, Hanna may very well be looking to do the same with the PNP by leveraging her huge popularity.
Deputy General Secretary Basil Waite has called into question Hanna’s commitment to the PNP by insisting that just before she joined the PNP she campaigned vigourously against it and thirteen years later is now looking to both head and lead the PNP.
Waite further added: “The next leader of the PNP needs to be one who has avoided protracted political battles, seeks to bring people together and continues to strengthen political organisations.
“After considering these and other factors, I have no doubt in my mind that Mark Golding is better suited to be the sixth president of the PNP.”