Cracks ev­i­dent as Com­rades vote

Jamaica Gleaner - - NEWS - Jo­van.john­son@glean­erjm.com jo­van.john­son@glean­erjm.com

THE TEN­SION was ob­vi­ous but the in­ci­dents which seemed likely to get ugly were quickly set­tled as unity was the mantra of the Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) yes­ter­day, as hun­dreds of orange-clad del­e­gates gath­ered at the Na­tional Arena to par­tic­i­pate in the in­ter­nal polls to choose a pres­i­dent and four vice-pres­i­dents.

PNP of­fi­cials re­ported an al­most in­ci­dent-free day, but late af­ter­noon an am­bu­lance was seen car­ry­ing one per­son to a hos­pi­tal, the po­lice had to move in to end a chair-throw­ing in­ci­dent in­volv­ing two women just be­fore 5 p.m., and two other per­sons clashed while wait­ing on the re­sults.

TENT AMENI­TIES

Elab­o­rate tents out­fit­ted with some mod­ern con­ve­niences, in­clud­ing a smart TV, posh decor, a func­tion­ing kitchen, and an air-con­di­tioned of­fice were all on dis­play while dance­hall mu­sic blared from mas­sive sound sys­tems across the hold­ing area.

On a day when long lines were ob­served wait­ing for food, one Com­rade, speak­ing on her cel­lu­lar phone, said, “Good food deh yah.” She stood un­der the Lisa Hanna tent.

PNP Pres­i­dent Por­tia Simp­son Miller was out early with a dis­play of en­ergy that put lie to claims she might not be well.

Simp­son Miller’s sprint was the fastest ob­served in re­cent

times as she ran length of the Arena, not once, but twice – up­stairs and down­stairs – well ahead of her se­cu­rity de­tail, who, as usual, had to play catch-up.

Her en­trance into the vot­ing area was greeted by chants of “one leader” and shouts of “Por­tia wi seh”. This con­trasted sharply with her chal­lenger Dr Karl Blythe, who made a silent en­trance into the vot­ing area.

The two later em­braced af­ter en­gag­ing in a bout of shadow box­ing, show­ing their sup­port­ers that de­spite the con­test they re­mained Com­rades to­gether.

Blythe, per­haps sens­ing that he would not get the nod to take charge of the party, told re­porters he hoped del­e­gates would give him enough votes “to send a state­ment to tell her that a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of us feel it’s time for you to step aside”.

Simp­son Miller would not be shaken and proph­e­sied be­fore the re­sults that she would be vic­to­ri­ous.

IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

PNP Pres­i­dent Por­tia Simp­son Miller sprints into the Na­tional Arena, while mem­bers of her se­cu­rity de­tail push to keep up.

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