PM warns against rivalry - Seeks peaceful transition of leadership
By Devon Evans, Freelance Writer
Monday, November 4, 2002
Patterson: "Until I indicate that time, there is no vacancy." - File
OCHO RIOS, St. Ann:
PRIME MINISTER P.J. Patterson again signalled his intention to step down as president of the People's National Party (PNP) yesterday, but warned against splitting the party over who should succeed him.
Mr. Patterson warned delegates attending a PNP National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the Renaissance Jamaica Grande Hotel in Ocho Rios, yesterday, against engaging in any infighting.
He said that although he had a clear timetable on his mind for retirement, he had a number of things which he would like to get done before that time. At the top of that list was a smooth transition of leadership.
"Until I indicate that time, there is no vacancy," Patterson said.
The PNP president said he will not allow the party to be divided into rival camps in competition for the party leadership because some time down the road a decision has to be made.
VOWS TO 'CRUSH IT'
"I am not going to allow it," he warned. "And anybody who tries it, and I recognise it, I am going to expose it, and I will be going to use whatever influence I have in the party to crush it."
He pointed out that, unlike the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), there were several persons in the PNP who are qualified to lead the party and the Government and that the party will ensure that its new leader is democratically elected.
Patterson also said that one of the things the party would be looking for is a person, who will not only be able to win elections, but a person who can unite the party.
"Speak positively and if you can't speak positively, lock up your mouth," he strongly advised.
Patterson had high praise for the campaign team which guided the PNP to its fourth consecutive term in office, and made special mention of Maxine Henry-Wilson, Dr. Paul Robertson and campaign administrator, Dr. Vin Lawrence, for their work.
He said that while these persons, along with several PNP candidates, had done their work well, some candidates did not, and have paid the price for not working hard enough.