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JM | Dec 8, 2020

WAR OF WORDS: Horne launches second broadside against Golding and his allies in less than a week

/ Our Today

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Norman Horne: “The status quo of the PNP has resulted in the mixed feelings that I am having regarding my resignation from the Senate. While Cde. Golding has decided that he will not honour the Party’s debt commitments, I would wish him to honour his public undertaking to make a genuine effort to unite the People’s National Party.”

The People’s National Party (PNP) is continuing to flounder in its pursuit of a resolution to the Senate appointment debacle that has bedevilled Opposition Leader Mark Golding and his allies since last Friday.

In a statement Tuesday, under the name of PNP General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell, the party revealed Campbell, Golding, Party Chairman Phillip Paulwell, and other senior party officials met with Norman Horne on Monday “to pursue a resolution to the matter of filling the vacant Senate seat”.

Horne has become a proverbial thorn in the party leadership’s side since it was revealed last Friday that he had yet to honour a publicly made commitment to not accept his appointment to the Senate, proposed by former Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips shortly before stepping down.

What was believed to be a vacant Senate seat was supposed to go to Golding’s close confidant, Peter Bunting, who it was announced early last week would become leader of government business in the Upper House.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding (left) had hoped to see Peter Bunting installed as leader of government business in the Senate last Friday. (Photo: Facebook @PeterBuntingJA)

That did not happen during last Friday’s Senate sitting with Horne subsequently decrying what he argued was Golding’s ‘dismissive’ and ‘dictatorial’ approach to leadership. Horne argued that he would not accept “communication by Whatsapp” and that Golding must meet with him to discuss the Senate matter.

But after Monday’s meeting, the PNP’s statement said, Horne
indicated that he would communicate his decision “in due course”.

The PNP issued a statement on the outcome of the meeting over General Secretary Dayton Campbell’s name.

PNP’S FULL STATEMENT ON MEETING WITH NORMAN HORNE

“Opposition Leader Mark Golding along with PNP General Secretary Dr. Dayton Campbell, Party Chairman Phillip Paulwell, and other senior Party officials met with Mr. Norman Horne yesterday, Monday December 7, 2020, to pursue a resolution to the matter of filling the vacant Senate seat.

 “The Opposition Leader impressed on Mr. Horne the urgency of the matter, and its significance to the orderly running of the Senate, and reminded him of the responsibilities of the Leader of the Opposition to the State and the Constitution.  Opposition Leader Golding indicated to Mr. Horne the two options available to him; either:

 a)   Make good on his public declaration made in October that he did not intend to be sworn in to the Senate and would have shortly sent his letter of resignation to the Governor General to indicate the same; or,

 b)   Indicate that he intends to take the Oath of Office and be sworn in as Senator.  If however he chooses to be sworn in as Senator, he should provide documentation evidencing that he had renounced his US citizenship prior to his appointment to the Senate, in order to clarify his eligibility.   

“Mr. Horne indicated that he would communicate his decision “in due course”, and gave a commitment to speak again with the Leader of the Opposition by end of this week. The country therefore waits on Mr. Horne to act, so the Senate can be fully constituted. 

“In the meantime, the Opposition Leader and his Shadow Cabinet are moving forward in discharging their duties.”

HORNE RESPONDS

Yesterday, just hours after the PNP statement was issued, Horne responded with his second stinging rebuke of his party president in less than a week, declaring that the party’s release did not accurately reflect what had taken place during the meeting.

In seeking to explain “the positions I have recently taken”, Horne outlined what he considered further leadership failures of Golding and “his inner circle”.

Arguing that “there are many more examples of disunifying and malicious behaviour”, Horne said the party president should “be encouraged to be collaborative and considerate of all members, not just those who supported him”.

Horne has disputed the PNP officials’ account of their meeting with him.

NORMAN HORNE’S FULL STATEMENT ON MEETING WITH PNP

“On Monday, December 07, 2020, I attended a meeting with Cde. Mark Golding, President of the People’s National Party; Cde. Phillip Paulwell, Chairman, Cde Dayton Campbell; General Secretary; Cde. Julian Robinson and Cde. Angela Brown-Burke. There was no other official or member of the People’s National Party in attendance. It was a private meeting in a closed room.

“At the end of the meeting, it was agreed that:

1 Cde Golding and I would jointly issue a press release; and

2 Cde Golding and I would meet later this week to finalize our discussions regarding the Senate.

“This morning, as expected, I received a draft of a press release. Nevertheless, before it could be further discussed, the release was made public over the sole signature of Cde. Dr. Dayton Campbell. The release does not adequately reflect the outcomes of yesterday’s meeting.

“Subsequent to that release and also referencing the statement of Cde. Senator Damion Crawford that highlights the actions of the current leadership and its inner circle, I must explain the positions which I have recently taken. While “a Machiavellian masterstroke” with “serendipitous political outcome[s]” may be the order of the day in response to anyone who is not perceived to be in support of the leadership, those of us who are independent and cannot be bought, bossed or bullied must take a stand on behalf of the broader membership of the People’s National Party in the interest of the Movement.

“Cde. Golding, as the President of the Party, has not made any attempt to inspire the confidence of persons who did not support him in the recent leadership race. In the weeks following, he and his team have been more focussed on crushing perceived enemies.

“For example:

1. A Member of Parliament, having taken her usual seat in the House was told by the Orderly that she should move upon Cde. Golding’s instruction since he no longer wished her to sit behind him. This display of discourteous and emotionally unintelligent behaviour is a hallmark of Cde. Golding’s approach to leadership. It has bred resentment and has broken any collaborative spirit which may have been considered by key comrades.

2. In the meeting which we had yesterday, my having not and never asked, Cde. Golding on his own volition raised the repayment of monies loaned by me and informed that the Party is an unincorporated entity. He further stated that any person who is owed outstanding sums would have to pursue the Party’s trustees. He qualified his statement by saying that he as Party Leader would not be making good on any existing debts. This despite the Leader having been Treasurer most recently under Dr. Peter Phillips wherein he would have seen, acknowledged and worked to service the existing debts, many of which would have been then on the books. This is an unusual breach of protocol. In the past, the Party has always made efforts to honour its financial commitments without hesitation.

3. As reported in the resignation letter of a former Vice-President of the PNP Youth Organization, there is an attempt by Cde. Golding’s team to ostracize members of the Organization.

“In my opinion, the unbecoming and unpresidential protocol-breaching endorsement of candidates vying in internal elections was notable. Cde Golding’s public and repetitive directive to the NEC evidenced that not all comrades are  equal but that those who supported him are to be seen and treated as being more equal than all others. Orwell’s Animal Farm, though satirical, best serves as a book for reading pleasure and not as an instruction manual.

“There are many more examples of disunifying and malicious behaviour. Some would argue that it is a leader’s responsibility to lead and crush any opposition. However, the majority enjoyed by Cde. Golding in the recent election and the state of the PNP should not encourage him to do so. Instead, he should be encouraged to be collaborative and considerate of all members, not just those who supported him. The true opposition to any political party is not within.

“The status quo of the PNP has resulted in the mixed feelings that I am having regarding my resignation from the Senate. While Cde. Golding has decided that he will not honour the Party’s debt commitments, I would wish him to honour his public undertaking to make a genuine effort to unite the People’s National Party.”

It remains to be seen what action either side in the dispute takes next.

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