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Imani with ease

Duncan-Price wins easy in PNP Kingston Central selection contest but faces hard work to unite Comrades

BY ARTHUR HALL
Editor-at-Large
halla@jamaicaobserver

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Having entered as the marginal favourite in the contest to select the next People's National Party (PNP) representative for the Kingston Central constituency, Imani Duncan-Price made all the running to emerge with an easy victory yesterday.

But, there were immediate signs that the selection victory was just the start of the hard work for the woman who unsuccessfully contested the St Andrew East Rural seat for the PNP in the 2016 General Election.

While Duncan-Price and her supporters celebrated their victory by more than 60 votes, supporters of her nearest rival, Raymond Pryce, declared their intention to withhold their support from the PNP in the next general election.

“No Raymond, no vote,” declared one vocal Pryce supporter while in tears.

“Is the same thing that has happened for 23 years that is going to happen now, only one set of people will inherit. We don't want her. We are not going to accept it this time. We not going to turn Labourite, but we are not going to vote,” declared another member of the Pryce camp as they reacted to the defeat.

With five persons on the ballot, it was clear from early yesterday that it was a two person race, as only the camps of Duncan-Price and Pryce seemed organised to get out the voters.

Donald Jackson and Joan Porteous were late non-starters as they had no delegates presence in the minutes before the polls opened.

Porteous later told the Jamaica Observer that she had decided not to participate to protest the lack of democracy in the selection contest. According to Porteous, her delegates were present but would not participate in the process.

Buchanan had an early showing with a handful of delegates but it was soon clear that he would not be a factor in the race.

Reports on the ground suggested that Buchanan had instructed his delegates to vote for Price, but he later denied this.

According to Buchanan, his late entrance into the contest proved too difficult to overcome so he urged his delegates to vote their conscience.

With the election now down to the two front-runners, both camps were seen pushing to get out every single vote.

After six hours of voting, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson announced that of the 592 delegates eligible to vote, 461 had cast their ballots for a turnout of 79 per cent.

There was little attention as Robinson announced that Porteous had received two votes, Jackson three and Buchanan 40.

Then it was time for the big two as Robinson announced that Pryce had picked up 174 votes, while Duncan-Price 242 votes.

“So Comrade Imani Duncan-Price is the winner of this run-off and we would like to congratulate her and congratulate all the Comrades for participating today,” said Robinson as he warned that the constituency would have to stay united if it was to remain in the PNP's win column.

As her team celebrated, Duncan-Price told the Sunday Observer that she plans to build on the achievements of sitting Member of Parliament Ronald Thwaites.

“We need to reinstall a sense of hope, reinstall a sense of possibility in the wider voters that we, as the People's National Party, do have their best interest at heart and we will work to deliver on our promises,” said Duncan-Price.

She argued that her actions will unite the factions that might have emerged based on the selection contest.

“Unity to me is an action word and what will unite all the Comrades who voted for the five candidates is for real things to happen and practical solutions to be implemented. And in doing the work in a particular way … and involve all Comrades who supported other candidates in work together, we will begin to rebuild in a real way,” added Duncan-Price.

For the defeated Pryce, the anger of his supporters is something to be addressed in later discussions but it is a reality he will have to face after one of his supporters told the Sunday Observer, “I am not voting for the rest of my life as long as she is in power.”

“We will have a review, post-mortem of what happened, what went well and what did not go as well as it could have, and all of those emotions and opinions will be allowed to be heard and to be reviewed. I will say no more on that at this time,” said Pryce.

According to Pryce, despite his defeat he will continue his work in Central Kingston and the programmes that he started.

“The age-old expression, to the victor goes the spoils, applies,” declared Pryce as he commended those who worked on his campaign.