Columns

Who did the PNP fire?

By Fabian Lewis

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation. — Adlai E Stevenson

I believe thus quote sums up Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips very well when he was speaking on Monday about withdrawing his party's support from Government initiatives if Andrew Wheatley is not removed from the Cabinet. In trying to claim the moral high ground, Phillips claims his party record on corruption is the best of any political party in Jamaica. That's the biggest joke I have ever heard in my life.

Peter Phillips is indeed the type of politician that cuts down the tree, sits on the tree stump, and then lectures everybody on the benefits of not cutting down trees. For the 22-plus years of the People's National Party (PNP) in power it has been embroiled in scandal after scandal in every area of governance, which have cost Jamaica millions and millions of dollars. As a matter of fact, throughout the entire rule of the PNP, Transparency International consistently rank Jamaica among the most corrupt countries in world. So to hear Peter Phillips claim that his party has the best track record on corruption is plain hypocrisy.

This time, Phillips, we ain't buying that.

When Phillip Paulwell wasted millions on NetServ, to name just one of the PNP's many scandals, P J Patterson, with the approval of the Cabinet of which Phillips was a part, said it was “youthful exuberance”. When former Finance Minister Omar Davies wasted millions to win an election, and was bold enough to tell the country about it in his infamous “run wid it” speech, and then turned around to slap a massive tax package on us to 'fix it', where was Phillips and the PNP's firing of him?

Phillips seem to think we all suffer from amnesia.

The best measure to judge a politician is his/her record. If we look at the PNP's record of scandals, the party has achieved the gold standard — in fool's gold. The PNP has no moral authority to chastise and make threats on allegations of extreme corruption.

Phillips should understand that the PNP has a chequered past, and he is a PNP member of high rank and good standing for many years.

As a PNP member suggested on Twitter recently, the reason they are not getting any traction is because they act like they haven't been in power for 22 years. All of a sudden the PNP wants us to believe it is new and different. It is the same set of people who presided over cost overruns on the several government projects they started. Who remember the still-incomplete Heroes' Circle multimillion-dollar fence job? Has anyone been fired over it?

Before the PNP can even talk about been different it will have to come to the public and apologise for every scandal under its watch. Why should Holness fire a minister when investigations are ongoing? Who did the PNP fire? And now the PNP is threatening to withhold co-operation? Hypocrisy!

Dr Phillips never once spoke out against corruption in his party. What happened to the Chinese kickback money Paul Burke told us about? Why not make that report public, Phillips? What about Trafigura? Why did the party fight so as to not testify in open court? Who did Portia Simpson Miller fire? I could go on.

Jamaicans are holding Holness to a standard of no corruption, but due process must be observed, not a kangaroo court against government officials. It seems Phillips is on a witch-hunt. We staying with Holness until he proves himself unworthy.

tyronelewis272@gmail.com

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