P.J. Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, and former President of the People's National Party, on Sunday issued a plea for unity in the governing Party, as it seeks to consolidate its position and win the next election, expected to be called shortly.
"This is a time to heal," he declared, while appealing to the Party delegates to "ensure that the good health of our Party is restored."
Mr. Patterson was speaking against the background of an outbreak of disunity in several constituencies, where incumbents are being challenged for the right to represent the Party in the upcoming election.
"This is not a time to break down; it is a time to rise up and build!" he said, in his address at the Annual Conference of the PNP at Kingston's National Arena.
"Let us remember the good seeds that our Party sowed, so that we can reap when the time of harvest comes," he added.
Mr. Patterson, who led the PNP, while being Prime Minister, from 1992 to 2006, told thousands of delegates and supporters that it was important for the Party to remain in government, in order to maintain Jamaica's good name in the international community.
"We cannot afford to run the risk of having the reputation that we have developed, for living according to our word, to be undermined by any Administration in the years to come," he declared.
Later, when she addressed the Conference, Portia Simpson Miller, the current PNP President and Prime Minister, alluded to the recent conflicts, stressing that the PNP was a party of rules.
These rules, she said, must be adhered to, even as the democratic process is played out in the 77 year old Party.
She did not elaborate on her concerns.