Sat | Jan 29, 2022

‘I don’t hold it against them’!

PNP president says he will continue to work with former VPs

Published:Monday | July 26, 2021 | 12:10 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

Members of the fractious People’s National Party (PNP) executive yesterday maintained that the party has not suffered a “fatal blow” as a result of the recent resignation of the three vice-presidents and the party chairman.

Vice-presidents Damion Crawford, Dr Wykeham McNeill, Mikael Phillips, and Chairman Phillip Paulwell all resigned with immediate effect on July 16.

The quartet, in a joint resignation statement, said that the resignations were done to “avoid a further widening of the internal rift” and “another divisive internal election”, while intimating a lack of effort by the leadership to embrace party unity.

Following the shock resignation, there have been reports from a number of party members that the rift in the party has widened. with some pointing to Jesus as the party’s only saviour.

But Opposition Leader Mark Golding, while describing the manner in which the resignation was handled as unfortunate, said that efforts to unite the party had not been derailed and that all members remained committed to the party.

Golding was speaking with The Gleaner yesterday at the PNP headquarters in Kingston on the final day of the National Executive Council two-day conference, where it was believed that “peace talks” would have been on the agenda.

The PNP president said he had met with the three former vice-presidents and chairman on Friday along with General Secretary Dr Dayton Campbell, Senator Peter Bunting, and Maxine Henry Wilson, chairman of the Unity Committee.

“We had a discussion on what actually transpired and the eventual outcome, and I think some errors were made. The process could have been better managed. Some misunderstanding arose through a lack of very clear communication, and unfortunately, it led them to do what they did. I am sure they were motivated by the best of intentions, and I don’t hold it against them at all.”

“My commitment to the four who resigned is that their input and their work are very much needed and respected, and I look forward to continuing to working with them and they have given me that commitment … .” said Golding.

According to the party president, nothing has really changed except that they have resigned from those positions. Besides, he said two of the ex-vice presidents had indicated that they would not be seeking re-election.

As to whether or not there was any widening of the rift in the party, Golding said that was not the case.

“It definitely was a bump in the road, and it got a lot of media coverage and created some amount of consternation among our supporters, and so on,” he said.

Campbell indicated that the public perception that the party was in disarray was being perpetuated by the media.

While admitting that he was not trying to downplay the situation, Campbell said the party had cognized that it had a problem and was working towards a resolution in the same way that it has ‘cauterised’ the fallout from the resignation by having dialogue.