The National Executive Council of the People’s National Party (PNP) has unanimously passed a resolution for the holding of a selection conference to determine the candidate to replace Portia Simpson Miller in the St Andrew South Western constituency.
Payne Land Division councillor Audrey Smith Facey is to be challenged by Norman Gardens Division representative Angela Brown Burke in the July 30 clash.
There was tension inside a lecture theatre at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, this afternoon, before PNP president Dr Peter Phillips put the resolution to delegates.
Earlier, Smith Facey addressed the council seeking to explain that the constituency had several meetings to identify a successor but could not reach a decision.
She said out of that indecision, Greenwich Town division councillor Karl Blake and herself were put forward as likely replacements.
Smith Facey reportedly suggested that it was therefore surprising that the constituency executive would write a letter endorsing Brown Burke.
Ashley-Ann Foster, the spokesperson for the Payne Land Division councillor would then rise, seeking to reiterate Smith Facey’s arguments, but some comrades would reject her.
Demanding that she take her seat, they accused her of making disparaging comments about the leadership of the PNP.
Amid the tension, Foster was asked to yield to allow the party president to speak.
Phillips would take to the lectern seeking to defend the decision to hold a selection conference to determine Simpson Miller’s replacement.
He said the regulation governing the party are aimed at ensuring that delegates have a voice in the affairs of their constituency and the leadership had a duty to ensure this.
Phillips also said Simpson Miller’s endorsement of Brown Burke should not be ignored. Simpson Miller, the current constituency chairman, is also a former PNP president.
On top of that, Phillips cited the letter from the St Andrew South West constituency executive backing Brown Burke.
Meanwhile, the PNP president has scolded comrades he said have been on radio lambasting “other PNP people”.
“We must stop it!” Philips charged.
LBC NEWS analysis.
The selection of a Candidate to replace outgoing Member of Parliament Portia Simpson Miller, is set to get nasty, testing the Leadership of the antiquated PNP. The run off is more about how much authority Peter Phillips has over the party, than who should represent the PNP in what is the strongest Garrison the party has.
Already the weakness in Phillips position as party boss has been exposed when he was forced by the Phillip Paulwell gang to adopt a recommendation allowing a run off. If the party processes had be followed then there wouldn’t be a need to have a runoff. If Phillips was in a strong position he could have kill the move by Paulwell dead in the waters.
It remains to be seen how long he can stay on, if he loses the next election and Brown Burke who will win holds the delegate rich seat, and delivers them for Phillip Paulwell Over Peter Bunting. Bunting having already smell the proverbial rat has taken the side of Brown Burke challenger. Interesting days are ahead for the beleaguered PNP.
One thing is certain, it will get ugly and nasty pretty soon.