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Even as the Member of Parliament from Manchester Central, Peter Bunting, is going about mustering support for his candidature as the next President of the People’s National Party (PNP), there are other leaders within the party who still support Dr. Peter Phillips. This has been the major highlight for the past few days, ever since Bunting made his intentions to vie for the Party President post with a long public statement.
Does Bunting Have a Strategy in Place?
A pattern has been observed in the way MPs’ have been issuing endorsements in favour of Peter Bunting – one MP, each day. If it was Mark Golding on Saturday, it was Dayton Campbell’s turn on Sunday. A member from the group who wishes to remain anonymous has admitted that it is part of their strategy to have this kind of a daily announcement. They may think this will keep the issue alive in the media and therefore in the public eye as well. It is claimed that the MP from Manchester Central may enjoy better support from the party leaders in the Western parts of the island, though there is no way of verifying this. A number of party functionaries in the West may wish to play safe and keep their cards close to their chests. This happens in politics. They would want to be sure which way the wind is blowing before committing their choices in public.
Some Support Still Exist for the Current President
Mr. Bunting and his supporters claim that the majority of the rank and file of the PNP want a change in the leadership. He might have thrown his hat in the ring at the right moment, sensing this mood. However, there are senior leaders in the party hierarchy who still feel Dr. Peter Phillips is capable enough to handle the position. At least one Vice President of PNP, Phillip Paulwell issued a statement in support of Dr. Phillips to continue as the President and stated that he will do his best to organise support for Dr. Phillips among the party cadres in the regions he has influence in.
It may be too early to predict the results of this standoff for the leadership of the People’s National Party. It is so far a two-horse race, the incumbent President and the challenger in the form of Peter Bunting. Will other horses emerge? The race will be watched as it progresses; through the end.