JM | Nov 26, 2020

Looking in at the high-profile PNP leadership gaps to be filled this Sunday…

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

Reading Time: 4 minutes

With the post of leader filled by Mark Golding, five People’s National Party (PNP) candidates will vie for two high-profile positions in the 82-year-old organisation—general secretary and chairman—come Sunday (November 29).

The day marks the next meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) and sees a toss-up among Jennifer Housen, Raymond Pryce, and Dayton Campbell as nominees for PNP general secretary.

Angela Brown Burke and Phillip Paulwell go head-to-head for the coveted role of party chairman.

East Kingston and Port Royal MP, Phillip Paulwell. (Photo: Facebook @DrPeterPhillipsJA)

All three posts were made vacant after the PNP’s bruising defeat in the September general election. Then-party president Dr Peter Phillips offered his resignation, followed closely by Julian Robinson’s and Fitz Jackson’s departures as general secretary and chairman respectively.

Outgoing General Secretary for Jamaica’s main opposition, the People’s National Party, Julian Robinson (Photo: Facebook @PNPJamaica)

Angela Brown Burke, member of parliament for South West St Andrew – and more importantly in this case, campaign manager for Golding’s successful presidential bid – is tipped to win but her margin might be narrow against a popular Paulwell.

Notwithstanding, Brown Burke, buoyed by her nomination, feels assured that the PNP’s powerful council members will place their confidence in her.

“Comrades and friends, I offer myself as Chairman of the People’s National Party at this time bearing in mind the broader mandate. Within this context a chairman will need to focus on unity, rebuilding, inclusiveness, participation, dispute resolution & discipline. I am clear that what unites us is greater than what divides us. I am ready to work with ALL comrades to UNITE & REBUILD the party. I ask for your support,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Angela Brown Burke has gone from backing Peter Bunting to leading another campaign, this time successful, for newly elected PNP President Mark Golding. (Photo: Facebook @PeterBuntingJA)

Paulwell, on the other hand, MP for East Kingston and Port Royal, who backed Lisa Hanna, is banking on his track record in the party and Parliament as his qualifiers for PNP chairman.

He currently sits as one of four PNP vice-presidents.

In the other heated battle, the position of general secretary is purportedly tipped in Dayton Campbell’s favour, though fellow nominees Jennifer Housen and Raymond Pryce should not be underestimated or overlooked.

Campbell, who has hinted at his retirement from representational politics, backed the #GoWithGolding campaign – his only but immensely significant victory this year, even by proxy.

Dayton Campbell (Photo: Facebook @PeterBuntingJA)

And, with public endorsements from Opposition Leader Golding himself, Campbell finds he’s no longer a dark horse but the man to beat—availing his skills for what he calls the “ultimate commitment to dedicate time and energy to the party”.

Relative youth, compared to his competitors, and an unbridled passion for the PNP are Raymond Pryce’s calling cards for victory as he officially accepted his nomination last Wednesday (November 18).

Additionally, Pryce stands as the only candidate to not have sided with either Golding or Hanna in the lead-up to the November 7 presidential vote, a position that could play to his advantage.

Defeated East St Catherine candidate Raymond Pryce now sets his sights on the post of PNP general secretary. (Photo: Facebook @RaymondPrycePNP)

“While the post of General Secretary will be decided by the NEC on November 29 – it became necessary to make this public post to alert each and every comrade that has encouraged me to take this step as a confirmation. Yes, I will accept the Nomination at the NEC. YES, It will be my distinct honour. DOUBLE YES, I am #Available #Able #Capable,” he wrote.

And last, but not least, attorney Jennifer Housen seeks to become the first female PNP gen sec in the party’s nearing century-long history.

Unification is the theme that sticks out for all nominees, but will members of the powerful National Executive Council (NEC) vote in favour of Jennifer Housen becoming the next PNP General Secretary?

Housen, another Lisa Hanna backer, feels she has much to contribute to the PNP’s unification process, hoping for the consideration of NEC member votes come Sunday.

Here’s what she had to say in her bid announcement on Saturday, November 21: “There is a rebuilding and reuniting process that must be engaged, and which requires a General Secretary seized with tenacity, administration, organisation, empathy, conflict/dispute resolution skills and an enthusiastic need to serve the party and support the Comrade Leader. I feel I am able to offer all of these at this time.”

Will the balance of power continue to weigh in favour of the rising Golding camp? Is the unity that has so-long eluded the PNP finally closer to realisation?

We await the results and the reactions in two days’ time.


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