The recently nominated President Elect of the People’s National Party Dr. Peter Phillips is less concerned about the age factor than others.
Jamaica is a highly political country with aging politicians and over time people have been calling for diversity.
Some citizens believe that it high time some of these older folks pack their bag and go and allow room from younger ones to grow in the political arena.
In an interview with the Jamaica Observer recently, Dr. Phillips stated his opinion on the matter concerning age.
See Excerpts below:
Dr Peter Phillips has scoffed at the suggestion that the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) should have focused on a much younger person to become its next president.
“Those who become fixated on this idea are really missing the point,” stated Phillips.
“For one thing, electorates in our country, for example, have elected young, and elected those not so young at various points in the history.
“They elected Michael Manley (former PNP president) as prime minister at 40-something; they elected him at 60-something also. Norman Manley (first PNP president and former chief minister) was first elected in his 60s and is still arguably the most distinguished of our political leaders.
“One thing that age does contribute is experience … the ability to know stability where it arises. The United States elected Barack Obama in his 40s, and in the next electoral cycle every candidate was over 70 and they elected one.
“What is significant is not this question of age, but what the person stands for … the policies, the programmes, the personal qualities of integrity and representativeness of the aspirations of the people and that’s how I am proceeding.“ Dr Phillips said.
Dr Phillips underlined that assuming the office as president of the PNP when the process is completed is not a prize to stand in of itself. Rather, he described it as “a call to work, to give service”, adding that it was out of a desire to give service, and not to seek reward, that he offered himself.
“When the time comes and one contests national elections and the issue of prime ministership comes up, it is all about service, not reward to the candidate leading the party. Indeed, it is a notion of vision that needs to be revived in the country, because democracy at its highest ideal is really about a population mobilized to exercise our civic responsibilities to govern ourselves.
“Most of us, or all of us here in the party and those outside, there is not one of us who has not been the beneficiary of Jamaica’s sacrifice — not our own sacrifice, Jamaica’s sacrifice for us.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, now 44, became Jamaica’s youngest political leader at age 38 when he succeeded then Prime Minister Bruce Golding as Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in October 2011.
Dr. Phillips 67, will succeed outgoing party leader Portia Simpson Miller, 71 on March 26, when a Special Delegates Conference will confirm him by acclaim as the fifth president of the 78-year-old party.