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JM | Jul 16, 2021

Rift in PNP widens as five high-profile members resign

/ Our Today

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Phillip Paulwell, Wykeham McNeil, Mikael Phillips and Damion Crawford after winning the vice presidential elections during the People’s National Party’s (PNP) 80th annual conference in Kingston. (Photo: Facebook @JamaicaPNP)

The People’s National Party (PNP) is today (July 16) facing new fallout after its three sitting vice presidents Wykeham McNeill, Mikael Phillips, and Damion Crawford resigned from the organisation with immediate effect. 

Party chairman Phillip Paulwell, who relinquished his role as vice president after a successful bid last November, also quit. 

What’s more, reports have since surfaced that PNP Youth Organisation President Krystal Tomlinson has resigned from her post.

The four, in a joint statement on Friday, seemingly slammed the Golding-led hierarchy for faking attempts at unity within the fractious party, and their urgent withdrawals were deemed necessary to prevent further rifts and tension.

Phillips, who was recently nominated to remain vice , has withdrawn his intent to contest the upcoming elections.

September is the month usually earmarked for the PNP’s annual conference and the time at which leadership positions are contested in internal elections.

The tone of the statement was scathing, as the en bloc resignees bemoaned what they observed as insincerity from unnamed members within the PNP leadership sphere, and repeatedly underhandedness that has sabotaged the ‘Unity Committee’.

“Despite all the reasonable efforts to broker a platform of unity, there were otherwise covert attempts to sabotage the goal of peace and harmony with a plan to horde the available positions,” they argued.

Efforts by Our Today at garnering a comment or response from Opposition Leader Mark Golding, PNP General Secretary Dayton Campbell and Krystal Tomlinson were unsuccessful at the time of publication.

PNPYO President Krystal Tomlinson has also joined the en bloc resignations sweeped the beleaguered party. (Photo: Facebook @KrystalATomlinson)

See the statement in full below:

“The People’s National Party’s vice presidents Damion Crawford, Wykeham McNeil and Mikael Phillips and Party Chairman, Phillip Paulwell, have resigned their positions with immediate effect.

Vice president Mikael Phillips, who was recently nominated, has also decided to withdraw his nomination to be a vice president.

We had engaged the wider leadership of the party in good faith negotiation to avoid a further widening of the internal rift, recognising that the party leader had declared publicly that the party could not countenance another divisive internal election at this time.

We arrived at this decision today recognising the risk of another internal election before the wounds of the last presidential elections were adequately healed.

The discussion within the party continued for more than three weeks, with some officers volunteering to step aside for the sake of unity.

However, we concluded that the sincerity of certain members of the leadership was not forthcoming and that the minimalist effort towards unity was a charade that is inimical to a genuine pursuit of unity.

Despite all the reasonable efforts to broker a platform of unity, there were otherwise covert attempts to sabotage the goal of peace and harmony with a plan to horde the available positions in line with previous public statements made by the leader, who pronounced a lack of trust for persons who did not support him in his campaign leadership and his preference to surround himself with only individuals who overtly endorsed his candidacy.

Logo of the 83-year-old People’s National Party (PNP). (Photo: Wikipedia.com)

Therefore, to continue our sincere efforts to preserve our beloved party, which has served this nation well and has been at the forefront of much of its development, we have decided to resign from our current positions and turn our efforts towards rebuilding the constituency organisations.

The most recent achilles heel of the PNP has been the disunity that has plagued the party.

The level of disunity has deepened since the most recent internal election, where the victor has seemingly not acknowledged that unity is ultimately the responsibility of the victorious.

We further believe that the disunity and display of underhandedness have crippled the spirit and effectiveness of the Unity Committee.

Despite this unfortunate development, we are committed to the continued progress of the party.

To that end, we will work to advance the constituency organisations and develop ideas, policies and programmes around which the society can coalesce to address the issues and serve the Jamaican people.”

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