MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Opposition leader and president of the People’s National Party (PNP) Mark Golding says focus is now being placed on selecting representatives to fill vacancies in constituencies ahead of the next general election.
Golding said the party is shifting its focus as it has already prepared for the local government election expected by February 2023.
“We have taken the decision that we are now going to move towards identifying our constituency candidates because we are now in the [second] year of this Government since the last election and we must be ready,” he said while addressing a PNP town hall meeting at Manchester High School in Mandeville last Thursday night.
Constituents in Manchester Southern pressed for a response from Golding as to when a candidate will be placed in the constituency.
The PNP lost all but one seat (Manchester North Western) in Manchester in the September 3, 2020 general election.
“South Manchester we are going to be looking for somebody and Central Manchester as well,” he said.
Opposition Senator and former Member of Parliament Peter Bunting failed to retain Manchester Central in the last election.
When asked if he plans to contest the next general election, Bunting said he is awaiting the Local Government to make a decision.
“My statement since the last general election is that I would continue to chair the constituency executive and support the councillors and councillors/candidates as parish manager for the local general election. I will make my decision after the Local Government Election,” he told the Jamaica Observer on Friday.
Golding urged constituents to give the PNP time to select candidates.
“What I am happy about is that we have expressions of interest from some very talented people, some very reputable people and persons who will be very good standard-bearers for the People’s National Party, so all I will say is be a little patient and we will try our best to get that person in place in the early part of next year,” he said.
“I understand the anxiety and the need for you to have your caretaker in place in south Manchester and it is not just south Manchester alone, there are other constituencies where, to be honest, we have been focusing on the Local Government Election preparation. We have been ensuring that we are ready for the Local Government Election and getting our candidates in place at the divisional level. We don’t know whether the Government is going to call the Local Government Election which is due, but they might come back and extend it again,” Golding added.