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Hanna bags big endorsements in PNP race

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2020 | 12:14 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Phillip Paulwell.
Phillip Paulwell.

Lisa Hanna has picked up the endorsement of two key People’s National Party (PNP) operatives as the campaign for the presidency of the 82-year-old political organisation intensifies.

PNP Vice President Phillip Paulwell yesterday threw his lot in with Hanna, but said he would not be hitting the campaign trail.

“After the record low turnout of 37 per cent in the September 3 general election, I believe it would be unwise to ignore the views expressed by persons at all demographic levels of the society,” said Paulwell, the member of parliament (MP) of Kingston Eastern and Port Royal.

According to Paulwell, he wanted to “assist in ensuring a united party once the election is concluded”.

PNP delegates are set to select a new president on November 7 after Dr Peter Phillips indicated that he would be stepping down from the position in the wake of a bruising defeat in last month’s election.

Hanna, the MP for St Ann South Eastern, and Mark Golding, the St Andrew Southern MP, are the only two persons who have declared their intention to vie for the party’s top job.

Both Hanna and Paulwell had supported the victorious Phillips-led One PNP campaign last year to stave off a challenge from Peter Bunting for the presidency.

Golding was the chairman of Bunting’s Rise United team.

Despite the endorsement, Paulwell has promised to be loyal to whoever emerges victorious in the run-off.

Donna Scott Mottley, leader of Opposition business in the Senate, is also backing Hanna. She has been appointed chairman of the Hanna’s BringBackDiLove campaign and the campaign’s chief spokesperson.

“Every leader is chosen for a particular time. Lisa is the leader for this time. She demonstrates all of the qualities that we are in search of,” Scott Mottley said in justifying her support for Hanna.

“We are running a campaign which is a listening campaign. We are running a campaign which is focused on bringing back the love in the People’s National Party. We have been so fractured and hurt by the challenges which have taken place over the past few years,” added Scott Mottley.

Hanna has promised to unite the PNP while pushing back against suggestions that she is a divisive leader.

On the weekend, a group from her St Ann South Eastern constituency claimed that Hanna had undermined the PNP as well as former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.