Surfaced reports suggesting that Curtis Dickinson had pulled out of the initial head-to-head debate against Premier David Burt for the leadership of the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) have served to confirm earlier TNN reports of suggested favouritism and subversion being administered in purported transgression of the party’s constitutional process, with delegates lists being withheld.
While Mr Burt waxed of his preparedness to debate and the official party line offered how the scheduled Saturday evening debate was put off due to a “logistical error”, a report in today’s The Royal Gazette cited Mr Dickinson’s withdrawal as the actual reason for podium silence, purportedly due to his not being allowed access to the current list of voting delegates.
TNN first reported the situation relevant to the lack of fair dissemination of the delegates list last week, after being informed by an inside source party inside source that while Mr Burt and Deputy Leader Walter Roban, who has Renee Ming as challenger for the position, were well aware of all current voting members, their opponents were deliberately being denied similar access to listings.
A letter expressing deep concerns as to the legitimacy of processes being engaged was said to have been delivered by Mr Dickinson to deputy PLP chairwoman, Lauren Hayward Bell.
The correspondence purportedly stated: “I write to express my deep disappointment with its content, which, together with a series of occurrences that have been experienced by MP Ming and myself over the recent few weeks as they relate to our candidacies for the party leader and the party leader, give me cause for great concern.
“For this to be the first and only communication from the executive in relation to the debates is simply unacceptable.
“While you have indicated that this was an oversight, unfortunately the oversight seemingly fits a pattern that paints a disturbing picture.
“You will recall that exhaustive discussions were had during central committee meetings about the party’s sharing of delegates’ contact details.
“It was decided that once a candidate had announced their intention to contest either the party leadership or the deputy party leadership positions, that those individuals would be provided with the delegate information.
“Following the announcement of MP Ming’s and my candidacies, we were denied access to the delegate information that has clearly been in the possession of the party leader and deputy party leader.
“We have been advised, and many members of the party are aware, that the party leader, the deputy party leader and the members of their team had contacted last year’s delegates before August 31.
“These engagements continued, with some of the newly selected delegates having reported being contacted by the party leader and his team before the release of the final list to MP Ming and myself.
“I would note that, unlike your e-mail, that was sent to myself and the party leader in the spirit of transparency, such transparency was not the case with respect to the distribution of the delegates’ list to MP Ming and myself.
“We have no way of knowing when such information was shared with the party leader and deputy party leader.”
Following the announcement of Saturday’s debate cancellation, the party released a statement that there would be a debate involving the pair on October 15, but this would likely depend on resolution being reached regarding the delegates issue of issuance.
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