PNP loves the youth and always will, says Jackson

Monday, September 17, 2018

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Chairman of the People's National Party (PNP), Fitz Jackson says the party has always and continues to embrace younger leadership, as is evidenced by the selection of Members of Parliament (MP) Mikael Phillips and Phillip Paulwell, and Senator Damion Crawford as three of its new vice-presidents on the weekend.

“We have always been an inclusive party. Damion Crawford is a former Member of Parliament, he was a minister of state, so it's a clear demonstration of the party's embrace of young persons like him. Comrade (Peter) Phillips upon assuming leadership of the party, appointed him to the Senate, so it is an inclusive decision he took as leader to bring him into the fold of the leadership of the party, and secondly, appointed him to the shadow cabinet that he leads. I don't think you need any clearer evidence of that embrace and appreciation for young people and what they can contribute to the political process going forward,” he told the Jamaica Observer following the PNP's 80th annual conference at National Arena yesterday.

He pointed out that young Phillips was now in his second term as MP for Manchester North Eastern and was also elected as the regional chairman in his region. “We have embraced him at the executive level as a regional chairman. He has offered himself and the delegates elevated him to a vice presidential position to serve nationally in the People's National Party,” he stressed.

Jackson said the third successful vice presidential candidate, Kingston East and Port Royal MP Phillip Paulwell was a long-serving minister, former region three chairman and has served his constituency for almost five terms.

“The leadership of the party recognises talent and elevates them to positions within the party and that has been the case for a number of years. The renewal process is a continual process in the PNP. Two years ago one vice-president didn't seek reelection, this time around (Noel) Arscott didn't seek re-election. The delegates selected the slate of vice presidents (and) we are happy for them,” he stated.

The party chairman said the PNP was in fact fortunate to have had a quality line-up of candidates for its vice presidents. “Any four out of the six would have been a successful choice in the service of the People's National Party, so we are very pleased,” he remarked.

Jackson emphasised that despite not having been successful in the vice-presidential race this time round, St Andrew South Western MP Dr Angela Brown Burke and St Thomas Eastern MP Dr Fenton Ferguson remained leaders in the party.

“Both are Members of Parliament, both are members of the shadow cabinet which is a part of the leadership of the party. They have continuous roles to play in leadership and the building of the party and towards securing the victory of the PNP in the next general election,” he said.

Meanwhile, the PNP chairman said delegates had been “very attentive” in the deliberations during the private session of the conference on Saturday, as well as yesterday. “We started earlier this year than we did last year and we started with larger numbers of comrades participating in the deliberations, and they stayed up to the end. Today we saw the arena was overflowing and all the delegates stood their ground until the very last word was uttered from the comrade leader Dr Peter Phillips,” he said.

Jackson said the party was encouraged and energised, and that the organisation would continue its work on the ground to educate persons about its policies, and organise itself to ensure victory whenever the next general election is called.

“Our organisation is virtually at full strength now. within the next month or two we expect to complete everything and we are ready for anything, any time — and we expect to be successful in a very dramatic way,” he stated.

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