Peter Murcott Bunting: The Man Seeking to Take Over Leadership of the PNP

Sheri-kae McLeod

KINGSTON, Jamaica – On July 14, Peter Bunting officially launched his Presidential campaign for the post of leader of the People’s National Party (PNP) at the Manchester High School in Manchester, Jamaica.

In early June, the sitting member of parliament for Central Manchester, and former Minister of National Security announced would be challenging leader of the opposition, former Minister of Finance and current PNP leader, Dr. Peter Phillips.

Phillips has held the post of leader of the PNP since 2017 when he succeeded former Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller. Bunting says, as leader, he wants to transform the party and transform the country.

Bunting has been associated with the PNP since 1990 when he was appointed as personal advisor to then prime minister, The Rt Hon. Michael Manley. He entered representational politics for the first time in the 1993 General Elections when he remarkably defeated former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer to win the South East Clarendon seat in a shocking upset.

Since then, all eyes have been on Bunting, who in addition to politics, has served many public sector bodies in varying capacities.

In the 2007 general elections, he was selected to represent the PNP in the Central Manchester constituency and has held that seat since. He served as the general secretary of the PNP from 2008 to 2014.

Peter Bunting was appointed to serve in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Simpson Miller as Minister of National Security on 6 January 2012, a portfolio he held up to the PNP defeat in 2016.

A Passion For Finance

Bunting was born in a rural district in Clarendon to two hardworking farmers. He attended the prestigious Campion College High School in Kingston and then later, McGill University in Canada where he received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering

Although Bunting served as the Minister of National Security from 2012 to 2016 in the former PNP administration, he has always had a passion for finance.

It wasn’t until Bunting pursued his MBA in Finance at the University of Florida that this passion hr has for finance started to unfold. After graduating UoF, he was employed at Citibank in Jamaica where his work ethic attracted the attention of two prominent Jamaican businessmen, O.K. Melhado and Clifton Cameron, who would later recruit him when they established the Manufacturers’ Merchant Bank (MMB).

In 1988, Bunting was appointed as CEO of Manufacturers’ Merchant Bank (MMB), which went on to become the largest independent merchant bank in Jamaica. Today, MMB is known as Pan Caribbean Investment Services.

In between working with Michael Manley in 1990 and being elected, for the first time, as member of parliament in 1993, he was appointed CEO of the National Investment Bank of Jamaica, (now Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ).

He, along with friends, Christopher Dehring and Mark Golding (a PNP member of parliament for South St. Andrew) also established Jamaica’s first private sector investment banking firm, Dehring, Bunting and Golding (now Scotia Investments) in 1992.

Out-pouring of Support  

Peter Bunting’s opponent mate for PNP Presidency, Peter Phillips, who was elected to the top position in the PNP on March 26, 2017, following the party’s defeat in the 2016 general election, has been a longstanding member of the PNP since 1989.

Despite this, many PNP members and supporters have sided with Bunting in this race for the leadership position.

St. Ann North-West MP, Dr. Dayton Campbell, Westmoreland Eastern MP Luther Buchanan, Hanover Western MP Ian Hayles, Former Education Minister and Kingston Central MP Ronnie Thwaites, Southern Manchester MP Michael Stewart and Mark Golding have sided with Bunting.

Peter Bunting will celebrate his 59th birthday on September 7, the same day he will challenge incumbent Peter Phillips for party leadership at the special delegates’ conference.

He is married to Anushca, who passionately introduced her husband at his official campaign launch last Sunday. The couple has a 3-year old son. He also has a son and a daughter from a previous marriage.

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