PEOPLE’S National Party (PNP) presidential aspirant Mark Golding has reprimanded former St Ann North Western Member of Parliament Dr Dayton Campbell for comments made on a political platform in St Ann last week, which has since attracted widespread criticisms from onlookers.
Campbell, who is supporting Golding in his bid to replace Dr Peter Phillips as PNP president, raised eyebrows on Thursday when he told party delegates to vote for the candidate who has the capital and backing of the private sector.
Yesterday Golding sought to clarify Campbell’s comments ahead of the November 7 internal election, while suggesting that they were clumsily stated.
“I think the broader point that Dayton was trying to make was that the party needs resources to function effectively as a political organisation, and that part of the role of the leader must be to try and attract those resources. I think that was the broader point that he was trying to make,” Golding told editors and reporters during a Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange.
“In the course of it, you know, speaking on a platform, I think some things were said there that ought not to have been said. I’ve spoken to him about it and I think we’ll move on from there, but the broader point as to the importance of resources is a real one,” he added.
He said as it relates to whether or not the person who next leads the Opposition party must be rich, that is not a requirement.
“Absolutely not,” Golding said when asked if his position was similar to Campbell’s.
“But, it has to be somebody with credibility; somebody who is seen by the wider community as worthy of support so that resources can flow through the party,” he added.
Several members of the PNP have publicly stated that the party has found itself in a less than ideal position financially.
Equally, others have chalked up the party’s dismal performance at the polls in recent years to a lack of resources brought on by a major campaign donation scandal in 2016, five months after its shock defeat to the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).
The PNP is yet to recover from the damaging allegations of misuse of campaign donations by some of its candidates in the general election that year.
The allegations were made by then PNP Treasurer Norman Horne in his report to the party’s National Executive Council meeting 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.
Last Thursday Campbell told delegates that the party needs money, and suggested that in selecting Golding for the coveted position of president, funds would again flow into the organisation.
“The party can’t run pon water. It’s a funny thing I see in politics, enuh. On election day almost everybody want money fi vote, but when you have somebody weh have money inna the party it’s like wi want to cuss them. The party needs smaddy with money and who can raise money, because you need money to run a political [organisation],” he told delegates, several of whom applauded him.
“Is what is really going on? On election day when you go out there, you nuh hear everybody a ask ’bout money? All some people right here suh in the room now a go want money fi vote the seventh,” he said, while chuckling.
“So the party needs to have a leader that is respected in the country and respected in the private sector so they can raise money,” he said.