Peter Bunting said he is perhaps the most successful person to have served as General Secretary of the now opposition People’s National Party (PNP), adding that there was no protest when he was in the position, which enabled him to manage the candidate selection process.
He suggested that the protests that took place after he left the post resulted from an unfair selection process that lacked transparency.
“If we say we are a democratic party, what it means is that, when it comes to select candidates – whether at the divisional, the constituency or the national level – we do it in the most democratic and transparent way possible,” he said.
“Use the same process for one [candidate] as for the other, and then nobody can point any finger about favouritism… We didn’t have that problem in 2011 or 2012 when I was General Secretary because we ensured that a fair, transparent process was applied to all.”
Bunting, who was speaking last evening at the Rae Town Divisional Conference, did not mention his successor Paul Burke by name.
But he noted that the candidate selection process subsequent to his tenure was fraught with claims of favouritism, and even sometimes resulted in demonstrations. Burke was General Secretary at the time.
“Perhaps in the recent era, I am the most successful General Secretary because every election I run as campaign manager we have won it by a landslide – 2011 and 2012, and wi never had any contention about candidate selection between 2008 and 2011,” Bunting further said.
He raised the issue of candidate selection while making a point that unity in the party is not automatic.
“You spoke to the importance of unity [Mark Golding], and I agree with you. But unity is not something that just come soh. You must unite around something. You must unite around a purpose; you must unite around principles and values,” added Bunting, who also is Member of Parliament for Manchester Central.
By Horace Mills