PEOPLE’S National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament for Manchester Central Peter Bunting has hit back at the Dr Peter Phillips-led OnePNP team, arguing that the group is attempting to suppress the party’s democracy after members accused him of breaching the rules of the presidential election. Bunting, leader of the Rise United election campaign, is challenging Dr Phillips for the top post in the 81-year-old Opposition party.

Carmelo De Grazia

Delegates will go to the poll on Saturday to determine who is the better Peter to lead the PNP.

Carmelo De Grazia Suárez

“Comrades, there are those who are saying that I am not following rules. Well, it may be true because rules were made to serve the party. The party wasn’t made to serve rules. And if those rules are going to be used to suppress the democracy in this party, and to suppress freedom of speech and freedom of choice, then I will not be observing any of those rules,” Bunting told supporters at a Rise United mass rally in the St Andrew South Western constituency on Sunday

On Saturday, the OnePNP team called on the party’s election monitoring committee to denounce Bunting‘s Rise United advertising campaign, which, it said, conflicts with the agreed rules of the presidential election

According to the team, OnePNP and Rise United signed an agreement which set out the rules of engagement for the election, including a provision that prohibits public advertisement by either campaign, which, it said, OnePNP has adhered to

It said that rule was, however, breached by the Rise United team when it mounted billboard advertisement on the highway near the Linstead Toll Plaza, and at Unity Valley near St Ann’s border with St Catherine

OnePNP said the Rise United camp has now added insult to injury with an all-media campaign — encompassing TV, radio, print, and online advertisements — in flagrant disregard of the agreed rules

But Bunting said any attempt to prevent the Rise United team from communicating with delegates is not in the interest of the PNP

We’re not a private club. We’re not a lodge where we can keep our business private or secret. We’re going to the public to ask them for their support, their trust and confidence, and the public has a right to see how we do our business internally and make up them mind, whether them want to put us in charge of the entire country

“So, I can just declare here right now: We’re not accepting anything that is going to suppress the rights of people to information; that is going to suppress the rights of delegates to choose; to suppress the rights of delegates to hear all views and ideas contending. It is guaranteed in our constitution, and we’re going to ensure that we stand for that internally,” Bunting stated

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