The PNP's cycles

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

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Dear Editor,

As an observer of Jamaican politics looking on at the impending challenge by Peter Bunting for the leadership of Dr Peter Phillips as president of the People's National Party (PNP) one cannot help but think that this organization has developed a love for Jamaica House.

Once it is out of office the leader of the day is challenged.

In 2008, then party leader Portia Simpson Miller held off a challenge from Dr Phillips, gaining 2,332 votes to his 1,959 votes.

This was one year after the party lost the September 3, 2007 polls.

Fast-forward eight years later, the same occurrence and the party leader, Simpson Miller, was challenged again on September 18, 2016; only seven months after the PNP lost the general election on March 25, 2016.

Nobody in the PNP or even the casual observer gave Dr Karl Blythe a chance. He got 198 votes to Simpson-Miller's 2,471. The party said 3,339 delegates were eligible to vote that year. The victory was to save face, some would say.

Six months after that event the PNP leader left the stage on April 2, 2017.

On April 3, 2017 Dr Phillips got his instrument of appointment as Opposition leader ( The long-time party stalwart is now trailing the prime minister in every poll done. He has been in the job for only two years, and April 3, 2019 marked the second anniversary of his appointment. How much longer must he get, you might ask? The election is not due until March 3, 2021. Will the prime minister go for an early election? We all remember how he was jeered for a year in Parliament after he 'called it' early and lost.

Some Comrades are not eager to return to the two-term syndrome that the country enjoyed from 1944 to 1989. They have been spoiled by the 18 years and six months they spent in office. This long period would equate to three five-year terms and three years.

Comrades should not fool themselves, former Prime Minister Edward Seaga stayed too long as head of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), and gave the electorate no choice. Only after Bruce Golding came back into the JLP in 2002 did the electorate see a viable alternate and a return to a competitive democracy for the country.

The Purple Lantern

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