The Opposition People’s National Party, PNP, will now be moving to determine how they’ll manage the process of selecting a new President of the party.
This, following Portia Simpson Miller’s announcement that she’ll not be offering herself for re-election as President of the 78-year-old PNP, come September, next year.
Mrs. Simpson Miller made the announcement during yesterday’s meeting of the PNP’s National Executive Council, NEC, at Cedar Grove Academy, in Portmore.
Mrs. Simpson Miller’s announcement follows another electoral defeat for the PNP under her leadership.
Before last Monday’s crushing defeat in the local government elections, the PNP also lost the February 25 General Election this year. Calls then renewed for 70-year-old Simpson Miller to step down as PNP President.
Now, she’ll do just that. But not before next year.
PNP Chairman, Robert Pickersgill, addressed the media yesterday after the party’s NEC meeting. He says Mrs. Simpson Miller announced her intention during her address to the NEC.
He’s referring there to the PNP’s Annual Conference which is usually held in September.
Mr. Pickersgill says comrades were made emotional by Mrs. Simpson Miller’s announcement.
He says Mrs. Simpson Miller was also emotional. She cried.
She’s led the PNP as President since 2006. Despite her announcement yesterday, no specific date was given for her departure.
Nationwide News has seen excerpts of her address to the NEC. In that address, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted that she’s been through ‘some tough battles for the PNP’. ‘And has seen many comrades fall’. She says it’s been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as President of the PNP.
Adding that it’s been a blessing to represent the nation and her party. She says she wants the transition to a new leader to be seamless.
The new President of the PNP will be selected by the delegates of the party.
Its newly-appointed General Secretary, Julian Robinson, says the officers of the PNP will meet soon to determine when that’ll happen.
He says he anticipates that special delegates’ conference could take place even before the party’s annual conference next September.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Simpson Miller says she stayed on as party leader for the local government elections, because she didn’t want the new leader to begin his or her term with an election loss.
In her address to the PNP’s National Executive Council, NEC, yesterday, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the loss at the local government polls was expected. She says she wanted to give the new leader a clean slate on which to build.
Mrs. Simpson Miller is commending her party for surviving what she describes as ‘stormy seas’. She says while the party had a landslide victory in the 2012 general election, the PNP is now in opposition by the slimmest margin ever.
She says she’ll do everything with the time she has left as PNP President to lead a reconnection with the Jamaican people. She says she’ll also influence the return of power to the PNP.
Mrs. Simpson Miller says those who aspire for leadership must remember the PNP is bigger than all of them. She says those who put their personal ambitions before the party don’t deserve to lead.
Mrs. Simpson Miller says any actions by candidates and their supporters to tarnish other comrades or bring the party into disrepute will be met with sanctions.
This, as the party will start preparing for a leadership contest.