PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson, speaking with the RJR news team shortly after announcing the result; Dr. Peter Phillips, speaking with reporter Dwayne Anderson
Dr. Peter Phillips has retained the presidency of the People's National Party (PNP).
The incumbent Dr. Phillips beat Peter Bunting, receiving 1,427 votes to Mr. Bunting's 1,351 - a difference of only 76.
The Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) reported a 96 per cent voter turnout in the election which took place at the National Arena.
Almost 3,000 delegates were eligible to vote.
PNP General Secretary Julian Robinson, who announced the election results, urged delegates to accept the results and work towards uniting the party.
Burying the hatchet
Before the results were announced, Dr. Phillips expressed confidence that supporters of both camps would bury the hatchet after the election is over.
"The PNP has been around for a very long time. It will be around for a very long time. And we have been around because we have the capacity enshrined in our constitution and guided by rules to deal with any eventuality. I have no doubt that we will come through this and become even more closely united once we are determined to do so as a collective," he said.
However, he noted that there will be no place in the People's National Party for those who try to thwart efforts to reunite.
Mr. Bunting was also asked prior to the announcement of the results about his relationship with Dr. Peter Phillips and whether the party could reunite after the election.
"I have said nothing personal or negative about anyone, so I have no problem forgetting and putting behind me whatever they've said about me. I am moving forward. We named the campaign 'Rise United' because tomorrow morning that's our focus and our intention," he responded.
He added: "I think parties unite not around the party itself; they unite around a sense of purpose and the responsibility of leadership is to be able to inspire those who are following you with a sense of transcendent purpose that allows you to set aside whatever petty differences you may have and work together for this common cause."
No 'olive branch'?
But in an interview with RJR reporter Dwayne Anderson following the announcement of the results, Dr. Phillips suggested there was no need for the proverbial olive branch to be extended toward Peter Bunting following the latter's defeat at the polls.
Despite regaining his presidency by only 76 votes, Dr. Phillips denied there was a split in the party, arguing that "we haven't created a wall with (Bunting), so I don't know that there is any need for a branch."
"I expect that we all continue as members of the party which is bigger than all of us," he declared.