PAM’s Deputy Chairman, Jonel Powell, has made it clear that once Richards is ratified at the special National Convention scheduled for this coming Sunday, 30th September, the priority will be shifted to the selection of the candidates, especially those for constituencies One, Two, Three, Six and Seven.
During the 2010 poll, those electoral districts were contested by Glenroy Blanchette, Roy Angus Flemming, Bernard Welsh, Junie Hodge and Ronald Williams respectively, on behalf of PAM. However due to internal differences these former candidates are no longer with the party.
The Deputy Chairman in a radio interview, one day after the special leadership election on Sunday, revealed that PAM has made a recent constitutional amendment to create a more transparent process for the selection of new candidates, including those who are members of parliament and even the outgoing Political Leader. This is a policy that current leader, Lindsay Grant had advocated earlier this year, when he made it clear that a new process was necessary and that he would be willing to ensure that all individuals wanting to contest the upcoming elections, including himself, must be required to comply with new procedures that are designed to recruit the best talent for the poll.
Therefore on Sunday 23rd September, PAM used the occasion of the special caucus to introduce new constitutional changes establishing guidelines which outline procedures for the selection of candidates. Powell explained that a few months ago, while engaging in discussions as part of their preparations for the upcoming national elections, the PAM Executive created a committee that was given the task of modifying the existing constitutional provisions to add more specific procedures that would encompass what individuals would be required to do, if interested in serving the party as candidates. The procedures also speak to how the particular candidates would eventually be selected and by whom, for any one constituency.
The proposals established by the committee were accepted by the PAM Executive and recommended that they be forwarded to the highest decision-making body of the party, which is the National Council. The document was adopted by the Council on 28th August, 2012, and therefore the opportunity was used at Sunday’s caucus and convention to have the changes formalized and approved.
Previously, said Powell, Article 12, sub section 11 of the party’s constitution, simply stated that an interested individual who wanted to stand for election, only had to make his/her interest known to the National Executive, Constituency Group or the Political Leader, who had the ultimate decision-making authority.
The new guidelines, however, give more opportunity and input to the various constituency groups to help determine the future candidates. The guidelines, just approved, also indicate what qualities and characteristics are required for future candidates.
Powell explained, “As we approach the process for the selection of candidates for the vacant seats, we now wanted to ensure that we had a fair and transparent process, and to ensure that all constituencies went through the exact same process. The process is not limited to those vacant seats, but it is expected that existing candidates- Hon. Shawn Richards, Hon. Eugene Hamilton and Mr. Lindsay Grant- would also be subjected to those new procedures adopted.”