Presidential candidate for the People’s National Party (PNP) Peter Bunting says his surprise challenge for the top role has already boosted morale within the organisation.
Bunting, who spoke to BUZZ on the ground of Stadium East following a successful nomination exercise on Friday, July 26, explained that the PNP needed his challenge to re-energise the party after a string of defeats.
“I think it is very important for us and for the [PNP]. The root of the matter is the party had been flat for a while, particularly losing a series of by-elections, the morale was low,” Bunting told BUZZ.
Bunting, who also sits as Member of Parliament for Central Manchester, was the source of much jubilation from comrades, who paraded in sections of Kingston, anticipating an overwhelming victory in September.
The ‘Rise United’ leader explained that already, whether the ‘One PNP’ team would like to accept it or not, the party has been infected with the most zest and vim in recent months.
“In the six weeks or so since we announced the Rise United campaign, particularly since we launched, we’ve injected a sense of purpose in the party,” Bunting told BUZZ.
“An excitement, an energy, a passion has been re-emerging,” he added.
Reflecting on the massive turnout for his nomination, Bunting noted, “I’m feeling quite excited. Of course, I’m very grateful for the tremendous support; the thousands who have come out just to walk with me to HQ to be nominated. We got a tremendous reception right across the board.”
Bunting said he was especially pleased to see young Jamaicans among those participating in the Rise United campaign – a telling sign that the PNP’s appeal is growing on millennials.
“I’m excited to see the number of young people coming to our events, because some thought the JLP were doing much better among the 18-30 cohort. And with five or six weeks left in the campaign,” the presidential challenger told BUZZ.
While he acknowledged much can change leading up to that fateful election day, Bunting assured that his campaign will be focused and robust on what truly matters: the delegates.
“A week in politics is a long time, we don’t want to take any chances. We’re just going to be targeted in terms of engaging delegates in small groups or even one-to-one – persuading them to our message,” he indicated.
“We want the party members and supporters to believe that we can win the next general election and to start operating with that confidence in a modern way to move forward,” Bunting further remarked.
When pressed to offer a word to delegates he hasn’t met just yet, Bunting assured undecided voters, “The Rise United campaign is on its way to your town and your community.”
The showdown between challenger Peter Bunting and the incumbent Dr. Peter Phillips, for the future of the PNP, takes place on Saturday, September 7.