Raising party funds hinges on PNP being united — Hanna

Raising party funds hinges on PNP being united — Hanna

Senior staff reporter

Friday, October 23, 2020

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THE Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) can claw its way out of the apparent financial hole in which it has found itself, aspiring president Lisa Hanna believes.

But, that will only happen if members of the embattled party can unite, she cautioned, following a series of leadership challenges brought on by constant infighting.

Hanna, the current PNP treasurer who is hoping to succeed party President Dr Peter Phillips on November 7, said while the party did not accumulate “serious debt” following the September 3 General Election, there is a lot of work to be done in terms of raising funds for the organisation to effectively function.

She was speaking at this week’s virtual Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange with editors and reporters.

“We are in a position to say that, ‘You know, we have some work to do.’ We will have to raise some money to continue the party activities, but that is not difficult to do. We’ve been doing it. So anybody that thinks that we’ve not been able to do it, that’s not accurate,” Hanna said, adding that the PNP Members of Parliament contribute a portion of their salaries to the party.

“But it will require, and this is not a secret, the PNP united, because [they] typically want to be able to give to a brand that is united — that they can trust. So that is some of the work that we have to do. It’s going to be hard work and it’s going to require a lot of time, but hard work has never frightened me,” she said.

“So I’ve already started to work on that. I’ve been the treasurer for two years and I don’t think that we’ve been embarrassed as a movement, and I just want to thank everybody who has been able to contribute,” she noted.

Despite Hanna’s latter pronouncement, members of the Opposition party have openly voiced concerns about the lack of funding in recent years.

The PNP found itself in a major financial slump after it was reported in 2016 that campaign donations were mismanaged by some candidates, resulting in the party’s defeat at the polls.

The allegations were made by then PNP Treasurer Norman Horne in his report to the party’s National Executive Council meeting held on July 23 and 24 of that year, but which surfaced weeks later.

In his report, Horne painted a picture of a party in campaign disarray, which spilt over to its ability to raise funds for the election that it eventually lost by one seat to the JLP.

In a September 10, 2020 letter sent to PNP staff days after the national poll, which saw the party suffering one of its heaviest defeats — losing 14-49 to the Jamaica Labour Party — outgoing General Secretary Julian Robinson announced imminent job cuts.

He said that the general election loss, which saw 15 Members of Parliament losing their seats, would cause the income of the secretariat to fall significantly.

“We have to realign our expenses to meet the reduced income, and as such, we have no option but to make some staff positions redundant. I wish to thank you sincerely for the work and commitment to the party during your employment,” the letter read.

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