Central Manchester MP Peter Bunting has withdrawn his intention to run for the post of president of the People’s National Party (PNP).
In a statement a short while ago, Bunting said his assessment has shown that there is overwhelming support for East Central St Andrew Member of Parliament Dr Peter Phillips to replace Portia Simpson Miller as the party president.
SEE FULL STATEMENT BELOW:
Since the last NEC meeting where the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller signalled her intention to retire as Party Leader, I have thrown my hat in the ring as an aspirant to succeed her.
I did this with the conviction that it was time for the next generation of leadership to refresh the image of the Party and help to attract a broader base of support, particularly among younger voters.
I believe my track record of achievement in both politics and the private sector has equipped me to provide that leadership.
In the ensuing period, I have held a series of consultations with the Parliamentary and local government leadership, and have concluded that a large majority feels that “it is Cde. Peter Phillips’ turn”.
Political parties are national organisations, and I believe that leadership decisions should be made on a wider set of considerations. Nevertheless, in the face of this strong sentiment, it would be irresponsible to cause the Party to expend resources and divert our focus and energy at this time. Therefore, I will not be going forward in this contest.
Dr Peter Phillips has made, and continues to make, an outstanding contribution to our nation and he will have my support when he becomes the next President of the PNP.
For my own part, I will offer to work on areas of weakness within the Party that have been identified publicly in various reports since February, and specifically on: i) helping the Party to effectively engage a wider range of supporters; and ii) strengthening the internal framework for integrity and accountability.
Finally, I wish to thank the many comrades and friends across Jamaica who have indicated their willingness to campaign in support of my candidacy, especially Comrades Golding, Buchanan, and Hayles who came out strongly in the media. Please rest assured that I will continue to offer myself in service to Party and Country, and feel certain that there will be continuing avenues for us all to contribute.