Sun | Oct 20, 2019

Eyes on voters’ list as Peter-Peter matchup nears

Published:Friday | August 23, 2019 | 12:38 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer
From left: Dr Peter Phillips (opposition leader), Julian Robinson (PNP general secretary) and former National Security Minister Peter Bunting in dialogue at a press briefing held at People's National Party headquarters in St Andrew last December.

People’s National Party (PNP) officials and representatives of the two contenders in the September 7 presidential race are surgically combing through the voters’ list.

PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson told The Gleaner yesterday that the deadline for the final list of delegates to be used for the polls being contested by Dr Peter Phillips and Peter Bunting is August 27.

He also clarified that the election would not be at a special delegates conference.

“For a special delegates conference, you use the list from the previous annual conference,” the general secretary said, referencing the party’s constitution. “This is a normal conference.”

“The names and addresses of delegates appointed by the groups and affiliated organisations shall be submitted to the general secretary no later than 10 days before the opening of the first session of annual conference ... ” a section of the PNP constitution reads.

Robinson said that new delegates may be chosen or existing ones remain.

“It’s not automatic that the same delegates will be selected each year,” he said.

About 2,900 names are expected on the final voters’ list.

Gleaner sources have said that some groups have been “surgically removing delegates from the preliminary list” that was provided to each candidate on nomination day a month ago.

“Groups are removing people who they think support one candidate or the other. So you will find an MP (member of parliament), for example, who supports one of the two Peters. They will try to get the delegates to go with their choice, but not all the time,” said the source.

Bunting’s Rise United campaign chairman, Mark Golding, said that a revised list, “which, essentially, is a corrected preliminary list”, has been done.

“It’s a process. Both campaigns were given a preliminary list. During the period, comments, which are allowable, have been sent to the general secretary, but a group has up to 10 days before the contest to change the delegates,” he told The Gleaner.

In the interim, there is also an appeals process, which allows a camp to raise questions about any perceived irregularities, but all must be completed leaving 10 clear days, Golding emphasised.

One of the delegates’ lists questioned was that of the PNP affiliate National Workers’ Union, whose president, Granville Valentine, is supporting the challenger’s bid.

That body has 65 delegates: 51 workers delegates, 11 National Executive Council delegates, and three Executive Committee delegates.

Valentine said yesterday that to the best of his knowledge, all delegates are on the revised list.

“Both camps are making appeals for every little thing because everybody trying to position delegates,” a Gleaner source said. “It’s happy days for delegates with back to school. No delegates will have any problem paying their children’s fees this school year. Trust me!”

Robinson told The Gleaner that there have been 10 complaints so far.

The party’s four vice-presidents – Dr Wykeham McNeill, Damion Crawford, Phillip Paulwell, and Mikael Phillips – will be returned en bloc this year as no challengers were nominated.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com