On Tuesday, Dr. Blythe wrote to General-Secretary of the PNP, Paul Burke, informing him that he had decided to withdraw from the contest. He said this decision was made after "serious and painful reflection on all the unfortunate events leading up to the reversal of the decision by the Executive to endorse a specific candidate to represent us in Central Westmoreland
Dr. Blythe congratulated Burke "on the stand you took, in respect of guaranteeing the constitutional right of every People’s National Party member in Central Westmoreland to be able to exercise that right to select who should represent the party in the upcoming by-election." He added, in praise of Burke: "My faith in you as a stickler for defending the party’s constitution has indeed been restored."
Following the endorsement of Michael Erskine by the Party Executive as the person recommended to face the delegates at a conference on Sunday, The former MP for the constituency, had initiated a court action seeking a declaration that the "procedure used to select Michael Erskine as candidate for Westmoreland Central was fundamentally flawed, illegal and in breach of the PNP's Constitution."
In addition, the application also wanted "the Party restrained from selecting Mr. Erskine or any other aspirant unless the individual was selected by all registered and financial members in the constituency." The action was however later withdrawn.
A spokesman for the PNP said the leadership on behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC) Had put in place a process for the selection of a candidate to replace Roger Clarke in Central Westmoreland. The selection process used was democratic, inclusive and supported by the Party's constitution by way of Rule 88 and was agreed on by all the candidates involved.
This process the party maintained was designed to prevent divisiveness in the constituency by attempting to agree to a single candidate prior to a selection conference. The approach which included a public opinion poll, had the full support of all those who were at the time aspiring to represent the party in the forthcoming By Election.
Dr. Blythe, a former vice-president of the PNP, was first elected to Parliament, representing Central Westmoreland, in February 1989. He remained undefeated in the next three general elections, before bowing out of representational politics in 2007. That followed his failed bid to become President of the PNP, when the Party voted for a successor to P.J Patterson in 2006.
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