Fitz Jackson says all is in place for PNP presidential election

Chairman of the People’s National Party (PNP), Fitz Jackson, has said that all is in place for Saturday’s presidential election that will see the incumbent, Dr Peter Phillips, being challenged by Peter Bunting, the Member of Parliament for Central Manchester, for the right to lead the 81-year-old Opposition party.

“From all indications, and (based on) the arrangements made, everything is in place for a smooth election tomorrow (today) at the National Arena, for the position of president of the People’s National Party,” Jackson told Loop News.

As Chairman, Jackson is head of the party’s secretariat. He said that over the past days and weeks, meetings have been held with members of both campaigns – the OnePNP team representing Phillips and the Rise United camp which is backing Bunting – and members of the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) team that will be conducting the election.

Jackson said the secretariat will be providing “all the necessary support that the EOJ requires in order for a smooth election”.

Meanwhile, the chairman is well aware of the divisive nature of the months-long campaign and the importance of the party coming together quickly, after today’s vote. That may take some doing, however, in light of the things that have been said, including accusations of vote-buying from both camps and a barrage of insulting social media posts that characterised the opening weeks of the campaign.

“The election for the presidency has indeed ignited the political activity within the party in all the constituencies. Regrettably, as was anticipated by many, including myself, there has been a certain amount of acrimony that has come to the surface,” Jackson admitted.

He noted that the Monitoring Committee, which he chairs, has pleaded with both sides to exercise restraint and to abide by certain guidelines established by the party and to ensure that the integrity of the party is preserved.

“Unfortunately, we have not succeeded as much as we would have liked to. In fact, we have not seen as much happen as we would have liked to see in terms of restraint.

“However, I am deeply hoping that after tomorrow (today) is over our healing process will commence immediately and the party can come back to being one to pursue its mission of seeing to the well-being of the Jamaican people and eventually, to rescue the country from the Jamaica Labour Party, which is the purpose of this party that I represent and many Comrades are a part of,” Jackson said.

He said the aim of the PNP is a “better, more progressive and successful Jamaica for the majority of Jamaicans and not just a few”.