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JM | Nov 8, 2020

Should Golding move quickly to appoint Hanna as deputy opposition leader?

Al Edwards

Al Edwards / Our Today

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Reading Time: 4 minutes
Photo: Facebook @MarkJGolding

The delegates of the PNP have now elected Mark Golding as the sixth leader of the party and the work begins to unify the party and get it into a position to win the next general election.

With a 95 per cent turnout, Golding secured 1,740 votes (55 per cent), while Hanna bagged 1,444 votes (44 per cent).

Hanna put in a commendable performance which indicates she is well regarded in the party and must play a significant role in its immediate future.

Golding has continually stressed the importance of uniting the party and setting aside discord.

Speaking at PNP headquarters after his victory, Golding said: “To Comrade Lisa Hanna thank you for a strong but collegial campaign ( however) this party will be a big tent for all of us. I am ready to sit down with you and your team to share our vision for the PNP.”

Peter Phillips (centre), outgoing president of the People’s National Party, with the candidates who were seeking to succeed him, Lisa Hanna and Mark Golding, at the start of the campaign. (Photo: Facebook @MarkJGolding)



Golding is prepared to be conciliatory and no doubt sees the value Hanna brings to a re-energised PNP. She can be extremely effective in leveraging her national popularity, marshalling the party’s communications operations and galvanising the youth both within the party and wider afield.

Last year, when Peter Bunting narrowly lost his challenge to Dr Peter Phillips, the tensions and acrimony were still there for all to see. On that particular Saturday there was no move to make peace and come together. It was a winner-take-all situation with the vanquished expected to go quietly into the night.

DIVISIVENESS CONSUMED PNP

In September’s general elections, the PNP was eviscerated largely because of the divisiveness that continues to consume the party.

No quarter was given in the Phillips/Bunting imbroglio and we all know how that turned out.

People’s National Party (PNP) President Mark Golding, centre, speaks to the media after winning the 2020 leadership race against Lisa Hanna. Alongside him are members of his family (seated), as well as high-ranking PNP operatives (from left) Fitz Jackson, Julian Robinson, Anthony Hylton and Angela Brown Burke. (Photo: Facebook @MarkJGolding)

It would have been far better to see both Hanna and Golding reconcile after the result. She should have been seen congratulating Golding and thanking her supporters and, more importantly, reiterating her commitment to making the PNP a more effective political entity.

The pervasiveness of social media has made people even more disconnected and has relegated graciousness and good manners. One only has to look at how President Trump has chosen to communicate over the last four years. This should not be emulated.

QUEEN OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Hanna posted an anodyne response on Facebook which read: “ I’ve called Comrade Mark Golding and congratulated him on his victory. I committed my continued service and support to the party and to him as our new leader.”

Lisa Hanna is the queen of social media in Jamaica, no doubt, with plenty of “likes”. She chose this medium to respond to Golding’s victory and thank her supporters rather than bring herself before the nation and her party.

The healing process could have begun right there but it wasn’t – a moment lost.

Lisa Hanna: “I’ve called Comrade Mark Golding and congratulated him on his victory.”

What a message it would have sent to see both of them with their arms around each other and sharing a stage together. As it stands, the bile, recriminations and antipathy may very well be still there. The question is how deep is it?

Golding could have moved then and there to appoint her deputy opposition leader as a nod to party unity and employing her gifts for the greater good. He, a man of acumen and proven administrative and management ability; she, a lady of immense popular appeal. The makings of a dream ticket perhaps.

Then again he may be giving himself time to figure out what she really wants and how to head off another challenge down the line.

Angela Brown Burke would do a good job as deputy opposition leader.



There are members of his support team who have been faithful servants of the party and have distinguished themselves both in parliament and in government. Anthony Hylton and Angela Brown Burke readily come to mind. Either would do a good job as deputy leader.

As the new president, Golding will make his calculations but more importantly will determine who he feels comfortable working with and whom he can trust. Making an unholy alliance based on political calculus may not be for him.

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