Another day but the same controversy for the People’s National Party (PNP), this time in the Opposition Senate as an impasse between Mark Golding and Norman Horne leaves Peter Bunting in the dark.
The flaring tensions come to public attention on Friday (December 4), as the swearing-in ceremony for Bunting has effectively been blocked by Horne, who wants commitments made by the outgoing Peter Phillips leadership of the PNP honoured.
Without Horne’s formal letter Governor-General Patrick Allen requesting that the writ bearing his name be rescinded, a new writ to facilitate Bunting’s appointment cannot legally be issued.
In a letter addressed to former General Secretary Julian Robinson in October, Horne said that he is owed $19.38 million for services and contributions to the PNP—signalling a further rift among high-ranking members of the fractious organisation.
Horne, who was among the eight Senators recommended by Dr Peter Phillips after the September general election, gave his assurance that a letter would be delivered to Governor-General Allen to indicate his intent to forgo his swearing-in.
As at Friday, that letter has not been delivered. Horne’s defiance also stands as a contradiction of an October 10 statement in which he declared his intent to resign as the PNP went into the selection process for a new leader.
Horne, who was in quarantine at the time, wrote, “At this juncture, swearing-in on Friday, October 16 as intended would be in great contradiction with my convictions, as I would be resigning from the Senate on November 6, to allow the new Leader of the People’s National Party to appoint Senators of his or her choice.”
By all accounts, Horne, a respected businessman and former PNP treasurer, has not offered his resignation.
The matter has triggered rage among Golding supporters, who claim Horne is intentionally blocking Bunting’s Senate appointment in a last-minute grudge match.
It doesn’t help frayed PNP minds that Horne, the 61-year-old chairman of ARC Manufacturing, publicly backed Lisa Hanna in her unsuccessful presidential campaign.
Golding recommended to the Governor-General on Wednesday that Peter Bunting fill what was believed to be the eighth vacancy in the Senate.
Had Bunting been timely appointed to the Senate, he would have also assumed the role of Leader of Opposition Business.