As the PNP presidential race comes down to the final week, barbs, acrimony and scathing comments are being broadcasted by contender Lisa Hanna’s surrogates.
There is much at stake and this may be an indication that we are in for a tight race. Hanna has said that she now has the support of the overwhelming majority of members of parliament and councilors; Mark Golding says her calculations are off.
What is clear, however, is that the divisiveness in the party still remains and it is fractured among fault lines that must be of concern to veterans like P.J.Patterson, A.J. Nicholson, K.D. Knight, Portia Simpson Miller, Burchell Whiteman and Arnold Bertram.
Hanna rebuffs allegations that she is difficult to work with and is unable to resolve conflicts, dismissing them as people within the party unable to deal with a confident, strident woman.
Hanna’s supporters believe that she is right and that there is a witch hunt to get her.
Delegate Karen Cross of Western St Andrew points the finger at a number of party members, particularly from South East St Ann, who she claims also ran out Hanna’s predecessor, Aloun Assamba, in the same manner.
She writes: “This crew went on the rampage of lies, made up stories and outright deception to get rid of Comrade Assamba. Why you ask? The very same reason they have been going after Lisa. Thievery, dishonesty, contract disbursement, control, power… and where there is all of that there is bad mind. And how many people do they have behind them? Fifteen people… imagine that!
“However, the difference between then and now is that they have the help of corrupt individuals in Kingston, social media and corrupt mainstream media personalities on politicians’ pay roll to help them and give them credibility! Their end game… destroy Lisa.”
Hanna has repeatedly said there is a smear campaign to sully her name and reputation and takes it all the way back to her run for a VP position. Her supporters add that it has persisted all the way to this campaign and they staunchly defend her.
“The media has given her a rough time going into all kinds of unfounded allegations. You had a TV interview this week of which half of it sounded like a prosecutorial trial. There was no emphasis on how she intends to return the PNP to government and rehabilitate the party. It was all about Lisa being divisive, couldn’t get on with Comrade Portia and breached guidelines in awarding a small contract.
“People keep going on about how she retained her seat by just 30-odd votes and that doesn’t qualify her to be leader of the party. The fact is she won, and we have 14 seats rather than 13,” said an MP who has declared support for Hanna.
Mark Golding has remained out of the fray, keeping his counsel. Passions are running high in the party and it will take major work in getting it to heal. A lot of balm will have to be applied to a very deep wound.
“I lift my hat off to Lisa… only an exceptionally strong woman could walk through this snake pit and still manage to hold her head high and look beautiful doing it,” declared Karen Cross.