The PNP’s election evaluation committee, says the party’s inability was to settle under the stewardship of former President, Peter Phillips contributed to its election loss.
The Evaluation Committee was set up by the party to analyse the stinging 2020 Election defeat.
While not directly attributing any blame to the then party leader, the committee noted that Phillips was entirely unfavourable in the eyes of the electorate compared to his opponent.
Wayne Walker tells us more.
The evaluation committee noted that Dr. Phillips trailed JLP leader and Prime Minister Andrew Holness by 20 to 40 per cent in their own internal polls.
As a result, the committee says it appeared to many persons that, the Party did not effectively promote the leader during the campaign.
The committee describes Dr. Phillip’s performance in many roles both in government and in the party hierarchy in glowing terms.
But, the report says regrettably, the success and support he achieved in the Party and Government never flowed over to his position as PNP President.
The committee also says the constant and persistent battle by contending persons inside the party, which all played out publicly, reduced its electoral prospects.
This was further exacerbated, according to the report, by Dr. Phillips seemingly being sidelined during the General Election Campaign.
The reports notes that Dr. Phillips’ challenge to former party leader and prime minister Portia Simpson Miller in 2006 and again in 2008 created a rift that never fully healed.
The committee notes the PNP’s electoral victory in 2011 was not a result of complete unity but due to the sheer political weight and popularity of Mrs. Simpson Miller and the mismanagement of the extradition of then West Kingston enforcer Christopher Coke which badly damaged the governing JLP.
It says despite the attempts to hold the Party together, there were constant lingering tensions between the two wings which had emerged.
That division it says widened in the period leading up to the 2016 election, which resulted in a PNP loss.
It says after that defeat and Mrs. Simpson Miller’s resignation many in the party felt she was prematurely forced out.
The committee also says the PNP General Secretary disclosed that the party never got a chance to settle down, having to deal with one unexpected issue after another.
This includes various by election races, the 2019 leadership challenge by Peter Bunting, Dr. Phillip’s cancer diagnoses and15 of 29 PNP MPs writing to Dr. Peter Phillips about his stewardship in May 2020.
The last event it says contributed to the view that Majority of PNP parliamentary caucus did not have confidence in his leadership.
The report suggests that in a country which is heavily leader centric as it relates to political parties these were insurmountable hurdles for Dr. Phillips.