Since the announcement of his challenge to Peter Phillips, many questions have been swirling around about Bunting’s track record, which by the line of questioning seems to refer to his track record in politics only or his proof of long service to party which qualifies him for some kind of award.
What many in politics have failed to grasp is the need for the politics to evolve from the state where the collective leadership is a long service award to one which recognizes the dynamism of politics and the need to adjust with the times to continue meeting the needs of the people which include providing the necessary leadership to meet the demands of the time.
The “track record” to rule one eligible or ineligible for leadership must not only draw on long service in politics but must also include achievements outside the political sphere where one isn’t a career politician. On the surface of it, Dr. Phillip’s very good track record would predominantly be drawn from his public service; while Bunting’s enviable track record would mainly be drawn from his success in business despite having a plethora of political achievements. It is therefore unfair to use the measuring stick of public service to judge both candidates when one has spent a generation in politics while the other has spent much less time in active political service.
Let us not downplay the important lessons that Peter Bunting brings to the table from his experience in running successful private enterprises. In fact, Peter Bunting would be held to higher scrutiny and levels of accountability and transparency throughout his tenure in his private enterprises- let’s face it, transparency and accountability in the public sector is very low to nonexistent. This is not to say that Dr. Phillips’ record in public service is questionable. Both men have had excellent track records in their different areas of focus.
To put forward a narrative that Peter Bunting does not have an enviable track record in politics is also a fallacy. To date, even with a myriad states of emergency, the current administration is yet to achieve the lowered levels of crime that was experienced under Peter Bunting’s leadership with much less draconian and suppressive measures. It is under his leadership that murders were brought to the lowest levels in over a decade. That IS an enviable track record.
Lest we forget, it is Peter Bunting who engineered a stingy defeat of former Prime Minister Hugh Shearer on his first go at representational politics which would have been no easy feat in a traditional JLP seat and against a former Prime Minister. That IS an enviable track record.
It is Peter Bunting who turned away a safe seat to reenter the political arena in a seat that was thirteen per cent down with little time between his introduction to the seat and the impending general election. It is the same Peter Bunting that would have gone on to engineer one political defeat after the other with increasing margins in that seat including 2016 when there was a national swing against the PNP. That IS an enviable track record.
It is Peter Bunting who orchestrated the landslide 2011 election victory with his superior organizational skills in the secretariat as general secretary, sweeping Portia Simpson Miller and her team to power. That IS an enviable track record.
The past aside, Peter Bunting has proven that he is the leader for these times and the future. He understands the need to fuse modern technologies into political machinery, something that has been moving at snail’s pace under the current leadership. One need not look further than his launch, which attracted thousands of young people, to realize that he understands the dynamics of politics in 2019.
Peter Bunting understands the need for the overhaul of the People’s National Party communication machinery which has been significantly subpar when compared to that of the current governing party. Providing a solution for that single problem could move the political party several leaps into the future and present to the nation once again, a formidable and attractive political force.
So what is Peter Bunting’s track record? It certainly isn’t one that may warrant him a long service award in the true sense of political long service but it is one that will enable him to engineer a more powerful political machinery because he understands the needs of a modern political movement. He understands the importance of organization in the 21st century sense and the need to infuse new technologies into the political movement. He understands that the table is big enough to include youth at the decision-making table with the political stalwarts.
After patiently waiting over two years for Dr. Phillips’ wow moment, I am now convinced that Peter Bunting is the man to pilot the transition from analogue to digital and thrust the political movement forward