PNP leaders at their party convention this weekend
This weekend’s Progressive National Party (PNP) convention was boycotted by Don Hue Gardiner, minister of immigration, which insiders say is a result of him becoming disgruntled by a failure of the PNP leader, Rufus Ewing, to move a motion to make all incumbents’ seats safe from challenge except his own.
Another major rift in the party emerged involving Akierra Missick and her position as deputy premier and not deputy leader of the PNP. The deputy leader of the PNP is Carlos Simons, who attended the convention sitting next to Ewing.
Missick, the minister of education, has become a prominent feature of the PNP Cabinet, with vocal representation in the House of Assembly, causing fear among top brass within the PNP that she poses a leadership threat to Ewing.
However, the opposition People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) has consistently pointed out that she has made drastic micro-management changes to how the ministry of education is administered, causing a stir among educators. Several letters to the editor point to how shortsighted and insecure Missick has apparently become.
The convention also elected Royal Robinson as the new chairman after Devon Williams withdrew before the start of convention; Sharon Simons, deputy chairman; Gordon Burton, treasurer; Sean Bassett, public relations; Philip Misick, party whip; and Sonia Williams, secretary general.
A pall came over the room when limited details of the repossession of the party headquarters were presented by Ewing, reportedly the negotiator of the deal, who made a call for donations to fund the cost of the back rent and new lease payments.
An effort to raise this money on Friday evening failed.
It is also now unclear as to who controls the PNP, whether it is the delegates sent to convention or the executive of the party or the governing council, when it was announced that a recent change to the constitution made the position of leader and deputy leader appointed positions.
The convention, though hastily called, was moderately attended by delegates from across the islands, with notable absences from former ministers and prominent supporters such as Jackie Lightbourne, who is now pushing for another party.