No second challenge for Bunting

No second challenge for Bunting

Monday Exchange

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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MEMBER of Parliament for Manchester Central Peter Bunting says he has not given much thought to the possibility of losing the People's National Party (PNP) presidential election in September, but if he does lose, incumbent Dr Peter Phillips can breathe a sigh of relief.

The Opposition spokesman on industry, commerce and competitiveness said it is unlikely that he would mount a second challenge to Phillips's leadership — a move that would further polarise members of the 80-year-old party.

“I wouldn't challenge Dr Phillips again. If he won I would have to respect the views of the delegates. If the position became vacant in the future, that's something I would have to look at. I would have to accept the decision of the delegates, that has always been the decision of the party, and move forward,” said Bunting.

He was speaking at yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue headquarters in St Andrew.

His decision to challenge Phillips has irked some in the party, who have argued that the timing is off since the general election is constitutionally due by 2021.

But Bunting said he is “not into that (waiting)”, arguing that that is simply not how he approaches life.

“I never go into any contest [with the mindset] that I am not going in to win. If it is business, if it is sport, whatever it is, I'm going to give it 100 per cent. It's not going to be a positioning so when I lose I can call it a victory as consolation. I don't even contemplate that in making that decision,” the former PNP general secretary said.

“Win, lose or draw, you're going to have a much more vibrant, energised, purpose-driven party come September, than you had in the beginning of June,” he added.

Bunting's challenge is the first since Phillips challenged then party leader and former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller in 2008.

Simpson Miller had defeated Phillips in an election for the party's presidency on February 25, 2006. She won by just over 200 votes.

Bunting said regardless of the outcome of the election, he does not plan on leaving politics anytime soon.

He said the mission of the PNP is to better the lives of Jamaicans, sharing that he would welcome Phillips's expertise should he ascend to the helm of the party.

“I would be happy to have Dr Phillips serve in my Cabinet if I am the victor, and I would be happy to serve in his Cabinet or at whatever level I am offered a position thereafter. There are no conditions to my participation; if I am the leader, then I will assemble the best team. Will there be changes? Of course, there will be changes because if not, those who supported you would be disappointed and you would have let them down. They would have voted for change,” said Bunting.

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