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Big battle for delegates in Manchester NW

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-large
halla@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A battle royal is developing in Manchester North Western for the support of the yet-to-be-determined number of delegates eligible to vote in the looming People's National Party (PNP) presidential election.

Former Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency, Dean Peart, on Sunday publicly endorsed the challenger, Peter Bunting, for the party's top job, but the man who replaced him as the PNP's standard-bearer in the constituency, Mikael Phillips, is solidly in the camp of his father, the incumbent Dr Peter Phillips.

Peart is a PNP legend in Manchester North Western, having been elected five times as MP for the constituency where his father also served five terms.

A long-time backer of Phillips, Peart used the launch of the 'Rise United' campaign in Mandeville, Manchester, to declare that it is now Bunting's time, and urged Phillips to walk away from the post.

“Me see a man, one Comrade… and him say, 'Mi waan see PNP win again before mi dead and mi a 77'. Mi say, 'Me a 70 and me waan see PNP win, too'. And let me tell you Comrades, the only way that can happen is Peter Bunting,” declared Peart.

“Mi a come from lunch one day and mi see a nice old lady and she say, 'Comrade, the party mash up', and me say, 'No, it no mash up; Bunting a come, Bunting a come',” added Peart, as he argued that there is no way the challenger can lose.

But yesterday Mikael Phillips told the Jamaica Observer that while he considers some of what Peart has said as unfortunate, they remain Comrades — still one with the PNP.

“He is free to support who he wants in this but the delegates of North West Manchester are supporting Dr Peter Phillips. Just as Peter Bunting replaced John Junor (in Manchester Central) and just last week we saw John Junor coming out in support of Peter Phillips,” he said.

“We will see on September 7 who has the trust and the faith of the delegates. I heard that at a meeting he said they should run Peter Phillips, and I hope that is not what he is telling the delegates of North West Manchester, because I am sure that I have done my work, and I'm making him proud that someone like me has replaced him as Member of Parliament,” added Mikael.