Tears for Portia

Two names have already emerged as potential leaders of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) following yesterday’s emotional announcement by President Portia Simpson Miller of her intention to step down.

Businessman Peter Bunting and political economist Dr Peter Phillips have confirmed that they will seek the top post in the 78-year-old institution, but the name of medical practitioner Dr K Wykeham McNeill is also expected to be thrown into the hat as well.

Opposition Leader Simpson Miller yesterday announced at the meeting of the party’s highest decision-making body that she will not be seeking re-election as leader of the PNP at the annual conference next September — adding fuel to the growing disunity within the party.

There were clear signs of conflict within the party yesterday at the National Executive Council meeting, held at the Cedar Grove Academy in St Catherine, as Simpson Miller’s loyalists and disgruntled members from Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna’s St Ann South Eastern constituency hurled abuse at Hanna and Bunting in particular.

The angry supporters chanted “No Lisa, no Bunting!” periodically during the meeting and refused to stop when asked by other members. They could also be heard chanting at the end of the meeting.


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