The current leader of Jamaica’s opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips says he will not fill the new senate vacancy, but rather, leave the task to the new leader of the party who will be appointed in three weeks.
In a statement issued today, Dr. Phillips said: “On appointing the members of the Senate on September 14, 2020, in furtherance of my constitutional duty as Leader of the Opposition to ensure that the legislative obligations of the Parliament were able to advance, an entire slate was named after full consultation with each appointee. At that time, no date had been set by the Party’s National Executive Council (NEC) for a special delegates conference to elect the next party leader.”
“Since then, a date has been set, which is less than three weeks away. As a consequence, it is my considered view that the decision to name a new member to the Senate is best left to the next Leader of the Opposition,” he added.
The special delegates conference to elect the next PNP president and Leader of the Opposition is scheduled for November 7. The race is between the opposition minister of Finance Mark Golding and opposition minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Lisa Hanna.
Yesterday, the two leadership aspirants pledged to run a clean and fair presidential campaign, by signing a code of conduct at the PNP’s St Andrew headquarters.
Phillips’s statement follows notice by former PNP treasurer Norman Horne that he will forgo being sworn-in as a senator.
Horne was one of eight senators who Phillips appointed in September, but he was not sworn in because he was in COVID-19 quarantine.
In a statement on the weekend, Horne said: “At this juncture, swearing-in on Friday, October 16, 2020 as intended, would be in great contradiction with my convictions, as I would be resigning from the Senate on November 6, 2020, to allow the new Leader of the People’s National Party to appoint senators of his or her choice.”