A petition has been commenced on Change.org by a Nicky Brown on Monday for the resignation of the newly appointed President Mark J. Golding of the People’s National Party in Jamaica. Golding, who is a Member of Parliament (MP) defeated MP Lisa Hanna for the presidency of the 82 year old party in an internal election of delegates on November 7, 2020.
Golding polled 1,740 delegate votes to defeat Hanna who polled 1440 in the PNP’s internal election. He has taken over from Dr. Peter Phillips becoming the 6th President of the party.
Among the allegations made about the internal election are “fraud, conspiracy and undermining.” The Petition reads: “To The People’s National Party (PNP):
On behalf of over 100 PNP supporters and members, this letter is calling for the immediate resignation of Mark Golding from the leadership of the noble People’s National Party. There is enough evidence to suggest that the recent internal election was not in keeping with the democratic process of the PNP, and therefore fraudulent on the following basis.
A series of Whatsapp messages were leaked on the social media platform, Facebook, with a conspiracy dating back to September 2019 after the internal election between Dr. Peter Phillips and Peter Bunting was settled. That conspiracy involved Member of Parliament Mark Golding, Peter Bunting, Ian Hayles, Luther Buchanan and others, to actively undermine the PNP to lose the general election so that Rise United can regroup and prepare for the internal election which took place on November 7, 2020.
A message sent by Mark Golding to the Whatsapp group reads:
1. “Having lost, should we continue to Rise during the period before the next GE?
2. If so, what is the right way to keep Rising, WITHOUT APPEARING to be indulging in anti-Party activity and undermining our chances in the next GE.”
In another message in an attempt to form groups, Peter Bunting wrote: “Beg you tell them leave Rise United out of the group name. It is a dead giveaway.”
This treacherous plot by senior members of the PNP denied the delegates and supporters of the People’s National Party their right to freely choose their leader. On this basis, we do not believe Mark Golding is worthy of the leadership of the PNP. Golding told the media that his campaign was not “Rise 2.0”, and said on numerous occasions that his campaign was based on integrity which sought to unite and rebuild the party. None of this makes sense when he was actively plotting to sabotage the party. There are allegations that delegates were paid up to $30,000 for their votes which should be investigated thoroughly. We will not support an internal election with conspiracies to sabotage the party for the interest of a small group within the party. In reference to Bunting’s message, forming groups is not a crime. It is the deception to not identify the true intent of their plot to hijack the party.
We expect a timely response from the party hierarchy on this matter. If not we will protest publicly for as long as it takes to get our point across. We will not accept a leader who demonstrates treacherous behavior, rob us of our rights to choose our leader free and fair. Rest assured, if Golding stays and/or ignores the call to resign, we will remain in Opposition together again. Social media is a powerful tool. We have plenty of time before the general election. We will organize and use our platforms to voice our disapproval of this fraudulent Bunting-Golding leadership.”
Looking to bring the party together after his victory in the internal election, Golding posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday that, “Let’s Unite! Our common purpose must be the creation of a 21st century Jamaica that exemplifies and upholds the progressive principles of social justice and equality for all Jamaicans. This is the foundational purpose of the Party and its socialist roots. There’s work to be done … I am ready! I hope you are too.”