Opposition leader selects Bunting for Senate vacancy

Opposition leader selects Bunting for Senate vacancy

Thursday, December 03, 2020

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OPPOSITION Leader Mark Golding yesterday confirmed his selection of his former business partner Peter Bunting as the eighth Opposition member of the Senate.

Bunting, leader of the Rise United team, last year September unsuccessfully challenged former People's National Party (PNP) Leader Dr Peter Phillips, and lost his Manchester Central seat in the House of Representatives in the September 3 General Election this year.

However, there was always speculation that on assuming leadership of the party, replacing Dr Phillips, Golding would appoint Bunting to the Senate to fill the vacancy left by businessman Noman Horne.

Golding has consistently denied continuing his link with the Bunting segment of the party, as well as allegations that his promotion to party leader would open the door to the promotion of members of the Rise United team to senior positions over those members who supported Phillips in the leadership race.

Comrades will also be anxious to see who Golding appoints to his shadow Cabinet, which he suggested he would announce at some time today, pending a response from a single member on whom he was depending to finalise his list.

Horne, who had served as an Opposition senator in the past as a member of the currently ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), turned down an offer from Dr Phillips in October to join his eight-member Senate team, stating that he would prefer to allow the next leader of the party a free hand to appoint his or her senators after Phillips declared his intention to resign as leader.

Bunting, a former minister of national security in the Portia Simpson Miller Administration (2012-2016), lost his seat to JLP newcomer Rhoda Crawford, who won 8,139 ballots to his 6,989. Bunting held the seat for three terms since 2007.

Bunting, who turned 60 a few days after the election defeat, was the general secretary of the PNP between January 2008 and January 2014. Prior to that he and Golding co-founded Jamaica's first private sector investment banking firm, Dehring, Bunting and Golding, which was later sold to Scotiabank.

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