PNP President Portia Simpson-Miller has been nominated to run again as President
THE Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) yesterday released the names of seven nominees vying for leadership positions in the 78-year-old organisation when it holds its annual conference in September.
Incumbent party leader Portia Simpson Miller will be challenged by former Vice-President Dr Karl Blythe in the presidential election, while the four vice-presidents will be chosen from incumbents Dr Fenton Ferguson, Senator Angela Brown Burke and Noel Arscott, and MPs Lisa Hanna and Dr Wykeham McNeill.
Former Vice President Dr. Karl Blythe, says he is be offering himself as a transition candidate as part of a process of renewing the 78-year-old organization.However, he says he is willing to withdraw his candidacy if he receives a timeline for retirement from party president Portia Simpson-Miller.
The veteran PNP member, who was unsuccessful in a 2006 Presidential race, said the made the decision in order "for the party to rebuild itself and really see who is that person, who is that comrade, best suited to take us home."
He said "it is clear to (him) and to many comrades that the party needs to start the renewal process...not tomorrow, but today."
Dr. Blythe said there are several PNP members who have an interest in playing a major role towards the renewal process. But, the former Vice President said the PNP members are scared.
"They have a fear because they believe that they have been warned if you do, you do so at your own peril, They don't feel that atmosphere where they can really go to the delegates and tell it as it is, explaining why they must challenge the leader; and therefore I am offering myself as the initiator of the renewal process. I am putting myself to the delegates to say I am willing to be the interim president," he asserted.
Dr. Blythe added that if he is successful in the upcoming leadership race, there would be a one year period where interested leadership aspirants would share their mission with all groups on how they intend to move the party forward. The former VP said he would then step aside.
In the meantime, Dr. Blythe expressed disappointment at Mrs Simpson Miller for not providing a clear statement on her departure plans from the top post.
Dr. Blythe said he had gone to the Party's recent National Executive Council meeting and explained to the leader his position on transition.
The former PNP VP said his planned challenge would not have materialised if the PNP Leader had given a clear indication of when she would step down.
"I clearly showed her why I thought the she owed the party at least just to offer to resign or to resign and I told her why I felt so. If I felt the leader had given the party the indication of the timetable that I asked her for, Karl Blythe might have had a second thought of whether I should proceed or not," he insisted.