'PNP in han­dover zone'

Pat­ter­son urges PNP lead­er­ship as­pi­rants to pre­pare, but wait for or­derly pass­ing of ba­ton

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Jo­van John­son Staff Re­porter jo­van.john­son@glean­erjm.com

Ac­knowl­edg­ing that just-re-elected Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) Pres­i­dent Por­tia Simp­son Miller is in the de­par­ture zone, her pre­de­ces­sor, P.J. Pat­ter­son, is warn­ing as­pi­rants to the post to “put them­selves in a lane” and get their tim­ing right. Ac­cord­ing to Pat­ter­son, “Those who as­pire to take over the ba­ton must put them­selves in a lane and in a po­si­tion and in a time frame, when there can be an or­derly pass­ing of the ba­ton.”

AC­KNOWL­EDG­ING THAT just-re-elected Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) Pres­i­dent Por­tia Simp­son Miller is in the de­par­ture zone, her pre­de­ces­sor, P.J. Pat­ter­son, is warn­ing as­pi­rants to the post to “put them­selves in a lane” and get their tim­ing right.

The ad­vice, us­ing the anal­ogy of a track-and-field re­lay race, was used by Pat­ter­son yes­ter­day at the end of the 78th con­fer­ence of the party rocked by a cam­paign-fi­nance scan­dal and in­ter­nal jostling for the lead­er­ship crown.

“In the life of ev­ery na­tion, there are wa­ter­shed pe­ri­ods. We are at a wa­ter­shed pe­riod in the his­tory of our na­tion and of our po­lit­i­cal in­sti­tu­tions as well,” Pat­ter­son told jour­nal­ists af­ter his ad­dress to Com­rades.

“I have al­ways de­scribed pol­i­tics as a re­lay, where dif­fer­ent peo­ple run dif­fer­ent legs. It’s so in the (Ja­maica) Labour Party, it’s so in the PNP. In so far as the PNP is con­cerned, Nor­man Man­ley ran the first leg, Michael Man­ley the sec­ond, and me the third. But the dif­fer­ence be­tween po­lit­i­cal re­lays and nor­mal re­lays is that it is a con­tin­u­ing process, so the tape keeps on mov­ing and the length of each leg will dif­fer. It’s not for me to de­ter­mine when the leg of the present in­cum­bent leader will end.

“What I do know is that we are within that time zone where there has to be a han­dover. If there’s an at­tempt to grab the ba­ton out­side of that time zone, the team will be dis­qual­i­fied. If you at­tempt to wait un­til too long be­fore the han­dover takes place, then the per­son who is wait­ing on the ba­ton runs out of the leg and the team is dis­qual­i­fied,” he added.

Ac­cord­ing to Pat­ter­son, “Those who as­pire to take over the ba­ton must put them­selves in a lane and in a po­si­tion and in a time frame when there can be an or­derly pass­ing of the ba­ton”.

On Satur­day, Simp­son Miller had sim­i­lar words for Lisa Hanna, one of the younger Com­rades who has not hid­den her lead­er­ship am­bi­tions and who failed to win one of four vice-pres­i­dent posts.

“Lisa, nuh worry, your time will come. You are a bright young woman and yuh work hard. Your time will come,” she told Hanna, who her­self de­clared, “I am not giv­ing up.”

The pres­i­den­tial elec­tion turned out to be a con­test be­tween Blythe, who was trounced, and Simp­son Miller,.

But lead­ing up to those polls, spec­u­la­tion was rife that she would have been chal­lenged by high-rank­ing mem­bers.

Bunt­ing had given in­di­ca­tions he would have chal­lenged, but drew back into his lane.

Simp­son Miller has al­ready en­dorsed for­mer Fi­nance Min­is­ter Dr Peter Phillips, who has in­di­cated that he will run for the lead­er­ship when­ever she va­cates.

Pat­ter­son, who said he would al­ways speak out on be­hav­iour by party mem­bers, also cau­tioned against a ‘footin-mouth dis­ease’ where mem­bers, he ar­gued, talk them­selves and the party into prob­lems.

Mean­while, PNP chair­man for more than 20 years, Robert Pick­ers­gill, has said there will be no new chair­man any­time soon, as he is not go­ing any­where, adding now more than ever that the scan­dal-hit party needs him.

“I have noth­ing to de­ter my con­fi­dence (on be­ing re-elected),” he told jour­nal­ists when asked about how he feels about the vote on the po­si­tion that is ex­pected at the next Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil meet­ing.

“Es­pe­cially be­cause of what’s hap­pen­ing, I don’t think I should (leave).”

One of the hap­pen­ings in­volves al­le­ga­tions of bribery in­volv­ing party mem­bers while in Govern­ment – al­le­ga­tions, Pick­ers­gill has said he does not ex­pect to be proved when the Of­fice of the Con­trac­tor Gen­eral com­pletes its probe.

PHO­TOS BY IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

For­mer Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party (PNP) Pres­i­dent P.J. Pat­ter­son is em­braced by re-elected party pres­i­dent Por­tia Simp­son Miller while her close-pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers and a child look on the plat­form dur­ing the PNP’s 78th an­nual con­fer­ence in­side the Karl Hen­drick­son Au­di­to­rium at Ja­maica Col­lege in St An­drew yes­ter­day.

Peo­ple’s Na­tional Party sup­port­ers singing the party’s an­them dur­ing the con­fer­ence.

NOR­MAN GRINDLEY/ CHIEF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

For­mer PNP pres­i­dent P.J. Pat­ter­son greets party sup­port­ers on the fi­nal day of the 78th an­nual con­fer­ence held yes­ter­day at Ja­maica Col­lege in St An­drew.

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