Jamaica's Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller (FP)
KINGSTON – People’s National Party (PNP) election campaign spokesman Delano Franklyn yesterday rejected a claim by Opposition Leader Andrew Holness that party president and Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller was pressured into calling the general election.
“We refute that totally. The prime minister was not forced, she was not pushed, she was not cajoled; the prime minister exercised her right under the constitution, based on her assessment of the situation, to call an election,” Franklyn told a press briefing yesterday at the PNP headquarters on Old Hope Road, St Andrew, to outline the way forward for the party’s election campaign.
Pressed for details of that assessment, party vice-president Angela Brown Burke, who co-chaired the briefing, stated: “It’s difficult to ask us to get into the mind of the prime minister. Many persons have tried it before and have gotten into trouble by assuming all kinds of things. We just need to understand that any prime minister has that authority to determine the date of an election. I don’t know why we want to pick much more out of it.”
Franklyn, meanwhile, said that it could only reasonably be surmised that Simpson Miller had taken into consideration factors such as the party’s track record, the updated voters’ list, and getting the election out of the way quickly to allow the Government to get on with its business. “And (also) that we believe the People’s National Party will win the election,” he remarked.
He added that the party was deliberate in utilising the minimum time allowed under the Representation of the People Act for election campaigning. “The objective is to ensure that the country settles down thereafter as quickly as possible (and) to try to ensure that the campaign is short and doesn’t stretch over a prolonged period of time,” he stated.
He said while the PNP will be running a peaceful campaign, it would also be aggressive in rallying the masses to secure the votes. “The People’s National Party aims to retain all the seats currently occupied by the party, and we will be campaigning as best as we can to ensure that we add all the others. No candidate will be left behind [as] all will be treated equally. Candidates know that as of now the priorities will be to be in the trenches,” he said.
And Brown Burke said the party was not worried about the 17 per cent of voters who are undecided. “Every time we get to this point in history in a campaign we always have individuals who are undecided, and we are used to that (but) we are going to the polls on the basis of our achievements.”
Turning to the internal squabbles that have played out in the public in recent months, Brown Burke said, “What we can say at this point is that we have been dealing with the internal differences; some take longer than others and we are satisfied that we are making progress.” (Jamaica Observer)