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PNP ANGER

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PNP ANGER

Party to arrange special delegates’ conference as Comrades fume at Bunting leadership challenge

BY VERNON DAVIDSON
Executive editor — publications
davidsonv@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 10, 2019

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Anger is smouldering inside the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) over Peter Bunting’s leadership challenge to President Dr Peter Phillips.

At the same time, while Bunting said he would contest the leadership at the PNP’s annual conference in September, it appears that Phillips wants to have the election as soon as possible to prevent the disruptions usually associated with long periods of campaigning.

Yesterday, a news release from the PNP said Phillips urged that the matter “be settled in a timely manner” and that the process “serves the best interests of the PNP, so that the party can refocus its efforts on the critical national issues that are plaguing Jamaica at this time”.

A leadership election before the annual conference the party’s highest decision-making body would require a special delegates’ conference.

Last evening, PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson told the Jamaica Observer that the party officers will discuss the matter at a meeting this evening, with a view to arriving at a date and working out the logistics for the vote which they will present to the executive.

Meanwhile, evidence of the outrage sparked by Bunting’s challenge was displayed at yesterday’s meeting of the party’s elected representatives in Clarendon, hours after the Manchester Central member of parliament officially announced, via the media, that he had thrown down the gauntlet.

Party insiders told the Observer that there were a number of skirmishes on the outside of the meeting. “It was very tense,” said one party insider, who opted to remain anonymous.

“People were angry. They felt the timing is wrong, that the challenge is going to set the party back and serve to shift focus from the larger problems affecting the country,” the party insider said.

According to the source, Dr Phillips, while not ignoring the difficulties the challenge would create for the party, used the meeting to encourage Comrades to focus on the bigger goal.

“Basically he talked about the need to prepare for elections because that was what the meeting was about from the outset, to get the party prepared for the election and he continued with basically that,” the source said.

That information was corroborated by Councillor Dennis Gordon (Maxfield Park Division), who also told the Observer that Phillips was undaunted by the challenge.

“He’s not backing down, but at the same time he has a responsibility as the party leader to carry the party through any turbulent period,” Gordon said.

He said the majority of the people at the meeting got up and endorsed Phillips. “Some didn’t say anything, but the mood was that he should continue.”

Bunting, in the statement announcing his challenge, said that since Phillips became president in March 2017 he “has not implemented a single transformational initiative within the party, and is just not seen as the right person for this time”.

Phillips has taken some amount of flak from Comrades because under his leadership the PNP has lost two parliamentary by-elections to the governing Jamaica Labour Party first in St Mary South Eastern in October 2017, and second in Portland Eastern, deemed a relatively safe PNP seat, in April this year.

Bunting said that since the Portland Eastern by-election loss, there has been increasing speculation about both the desirability and the likelihood of a change in leadership of the PNP.

“Uncertainty can be debilitating for a political movement, and an undeclared campaign is already starting to develop in social media and amongst party members. For good order and transparency, it is best that this speculation be put to rest as soon as possible,” Bunting said, adding that there is “growing acceptance/resignation in the general public and amongst various stakeholder groups including party membership and supporters, civil society, and private sector leadership that the PNP under Dr Peter Phillips’s leadership cannot defeat the JLP in a general election”.

Meanwhile, the PNP’s news release yesterday reported Phillips as saying that the paramount consideration of the party “must be to provide the Jamaican people with a strong and effective alternative to an out-of-control JLP Government which has unleashed unprecedented scales of corruption on the Jamaican landscape”.

Added Phillips: “I am glad for the expressed support of the delegates, parliamentary and leadership groups, as well as Jamaicans from all walks of life, and I want to assure them that I will not allow this challenge to endanger the viability of the PNP or its commitment to the Jamaican people to provide alternative leadership and effective governance.”

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Ocho Rios Orchid Society gives back

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Ocho Rios Orchid Society gives back

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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The Ocho Rios Orchid Society is still basking in the success of its 27th Annual Orchid Show which it described as a delightful family event.

The show, held earlier this year, featured “breathtaking orchid displays complemented by dance items, fashion show and several booths showcasing a wide array of craft, clothing, jewellery and myriad plants”, the society said in a news release.

Known for making donations to various organisations from the proceeds of the show over the years, the society allocated funds from this year’s event to:

* Our Lady of Fatima Church Feeding Programme;

* Exchange All-Age School;

* Ocho Rios Baptist Church Feeding Programme;

* Mustard Seed Communities; and

* St Ann’s Bay Hospital.

President of the Orchid Society Andrea Davidson stated that she and her members were pleased to be able to make the contributions and “will continue to do so in the future”.

“Through these donations the members hope that they would have made a positive contribution not only to these organisations but to the people that each one serves,” the society said, and expressed thanks to the patrons who continue to support the show annually and whose patronage has helped to make the donations possible.

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NEPA briefs municipal corporations on proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area

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NEPA briefs municipal corporations on proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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Fourteen representatives from municipal corporations in Trelawny, St Ann, St James, Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth participated in a briefing on the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area (CCPA) on Wednesday at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) head office.

The meeting was convened to brief mayors, chief executive officers and other senior municipal representatives on the process adopted by the Government in declaring the proposed CCPA boundaries, explain the accompanying initiatives and actions for areas outside of the boundary, provide information and clarification on mandatory environmental impact assessment (and archaeological impact assessment) and the plans to develop and implement a management plan for the area.

Peter Knight, NEPA chief executive officer and government town planner who chaired the meeting, stated that “the Government, led by Prime Minister Holness, is to be credited with providing leadership and working diligently in partnership with the key environmental and planning agencies and departments and other stakeholders in collectively agreeing on a boundary referred to as the CCPA”.

The briefing included a presentation on the CCPA, highlighting its significance and raising awareness of the proposed CCPA as a no-mining zone as designated by the Cabinet.

Following the presentation, representatives from the municipal corporations sought clarification on issues regarding the CCPA, including the considerations in the definition of the proposed boundary and progress of the on-the-ground verification (“ground truthing”) process to outline the boundary.

“We are glad for this meeting so that we can relay these facts to our councillors. There is a lot of misinformation and the people have the right to be informed properly,” said Trelawny mayor, Councillor Colin Gager. “We do applaud the bold move by the prime minister to identify a boundary.”

Other mayors expressed similar sentiments, saying that the briefing was overdue and that they were now placed in a better position to assist with the dialogue on the CCPA.

Representatives from partner State entities, including the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Water Resources Authority, and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority were present at the briefing to respond to queries.

After extensive consultations and deliberations, the area designated as the proposed Cockpit Country Protected Area was announced in Parliament on November 21, 2017 by Prime Minister Holness.

The proposed CCPA spans six parishes — Trelawny, St Ann, St James, Manchester, Clarendon and St Elizabeth. The area comprises approximately 74,726 hectares and will be protected under law. This includes existing forest reserves, significant hydrological, ecological feature, and cultural and heritage sites. A management plan will be prepared in partnership with private landowners, local groups and other stakeholders.

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NEPA empowers Trelawny youth with summer programme

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NEPA empowers Trelawny youth with summer programme

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is reporting that this year’s Summer Library Programme, put on by the Sharon O’Connor Documentation Centre, has empowered youngsters aged 4-15 years to make environmentally conscious decisions.

Held under the theme ‘Protecting our Environment’, the programme engaged participants at the Trelawny Parish Library in Falmouth and the branch libraries at Duncans, Clark’s Town, and Wakefield.

According to NEPA Senior Librarian Kay-Ann Miller, “the topics for this year’s programme were selected based on the environmental issues facing communities in Trelawny, as gleaned from discussions with Suzette Morgan, senior librarian in the Trelawny Parish Library Network.

“It was important to cover topics relevant to their environment, including beaches and coastal erosion, practising the 4-Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse — the ban on single-use plastics, composting, and the effects of deforestation,” Miller added.

In addition to displays on environmental and planning issues presented by NEPA officials, the programme’s participants were exposed to information focusing on pollution, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and biodiversity.

Another key component of the Summer Library Programme was a Poster and Collage competition for children aged 9-15 and 4-8 years. Winners were awarded book vouchers. In addition, the five libraries in the parish network were also presented with books on Jamaica’s flora and fauna, as well as art and craft supplies for the programme’s participants.

The National Baking Company sponsored snacks for participants for the duration of the programme.

Morgan expressed gratitude to the NEPA team for facilitating the programme, saying, “We appreciate NEPA’s efficiency, organisation and communication throughout the programme and we are grateful to the agency for investing in Trelawny’s youth. The sponsorship of the stationery and art supplies was a huge help as students are now able to have adequate supplies.”

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