Former General Secretary of the People’s National Party (PNP), Paul Burke, is questioning the moral authority of his party colleagues who’ve spoken out against vote-buying in last Thursday’s by-election in East Portland.

Members of the PNP have accused the JLP of buying votes in the lead up to the by election.

In the 6 page letter obtained by Nationwide News, Mr. Burke also addresses the viability of the party’s Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips. The letter was addressed to the party’s National Executive Council.

On Sunday, a former PNP General Secretary, Maxine Henry Wilson, raised speculation about the JLP being involved in vote buying in East Portland.

Mrs. Henry Wilson was also the Campaign Director for the PNP’s candidate, Damion Crawford.

But another former PNP General Secretary, Paul Burke, says money and benefits have been a growing feature and campaign strategy in the PNP’s own internal elections. He says this has been so since the PNP’s Vice Presidential Elections in the late 1990s, and is perhaps now unstoppable. He says it happens at several, if not most of their keenly contested internal candidate selections. He says this is a fact although they’ve all been ashamed to openly admit it.

Mr. Burke says the saving grace is that the PNP’s National Leadership does not subscribe to vote-buying in national elections, although a growing number of their members at all levels, are pressing the party to go this way. He also claims that some have done ‘their own thing’ in their own limited way.

In the meantime, Mr. Burke says the PNP’s mission, organization and message have been lacking for several years. He says this deficiency was masked by the popularity of former Party President Portia Simpson Miller.

However he says the decay continued under her leadership and during his tenure as General Secretary. Mr. Burke also says the Party Groups have been gradually and systematically breaking down over the last twenty plus years and are not functioning as they were meant to. He cites four key areas to re-energise the PNP – recruitment, political education, community outreach and electoral work.

The former Gen Sec also addressed concerns about the viability of Party Leader, Dr. Peter Phillips. He admits Dr. Phillips has a popularity problem, but says the fundamental issues lie within the party’s efforts to aggressively recruit, educate, hold Divisional and Constituency Conferences and speak to the party’s mission and message.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burke says the PNP’s strong organizational capacity should’ve assisted them in taking home victory in East Portland, but this was sorely lacking. He says this is one of the main reasons they lost the general elections in February 2016 and the South East St Mary by election in October 2017. He says he’s considering releasing a document looking at why the PNP lost the General election and the lessons that should’ve been learnt.

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