PNP MP boost for Green
Hugh Graham says former Cabinet minister humble, respectful and could have been given a chanceSunday, September 19, 2021
BY HG HELPS
FORMER Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Floyd Green has received the backing of someone he would least expect to be in his corner at a time like this.
The embattled Member of Parliament (MP) for St Elizabeth South Western, who quit as minister last Wednesday following the exposure of a video on social media which showed him revelling with others on a day designated as no-movement, has been lauded for his work and general conduct by Opposition MP for St Catherine North Western, and businessman Hugh Graham.
Graham has even suggested, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, that Green, an attorney-at law by training, may have been dealt with harshly by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who accepted the former minister's resignation. Up to yesterday, it still could not be determined whether Holness insisted on a resignation, or if Green volunteered to place his signature to paper and walk away from the Cabinet, one of three arms of Government in this northern Caribbean island of a shade under three million inhabitants.
“With Floyd, I think it could not have happened to a nicer guy. There is a sitcom titled Everybody Loves Raymond. It's something that I would substitute the word Raymond and say Everybody Loves Floyd,” Graham said.
“For me, he epitomises that sitcom. He is a successful youth, humble, his countenance is jovial, he doesn't give anybody any problem, he bullies no one, doesn't cuss off anybody in Parliament… if you come against him with your opposite proposal, he would say he would look into it, but he is not going to tell you to shut up and sit down and that kind of rudeness that comes from others,” Graham went on.
“So, for me, it's really unfortunate that he ended up with this. I would go further to say, maybe because the Government is under so much pressure [is the reason] the action was taken against Floyd, because you have a man who [allegedly] beats a woman with chair and he is still in the Parliament.
“People go to bird bush on no-movement day and you don't hear a thing about it. A whole heap of people have [allegedly] died because of a lack of oxygen and that's alright. So, then you wonder, you are going to fire a man, or ask for his resignation because he breached no-movement day? Is it really because he breached no-movement day or because he got caught or the video went viral… but same thing with the man who [allegedly] hit the woman with the chair. That video was viral, too, but nothing happened. The video of people dying in a hospital went viral but nothing happened,” Graham argued.
The reference to people dying because of insufficient oxygen in the public health-care system and no action taken, follows the quitting of Jordan's Minister of Health Nathir Obeidat, after he was asked by that country's Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh to submit his letter of resignation following the death of six people due to the lack of oxygen on a hospital ward in that country of 10 million inhabitants, whose vaccination programme began in January of this year.
The oxygen shortage in that country, according to reputable international news organisations, BBC News and Reuters, lasted for an hour.
“The machine that is used to test the strains of people, we don't buy it,” Graham added. “We talk about process. To me, you have to wonder where our priorities are. I don't think Floyd deserves what he got. I am not saying I support the fact that he flouted the law and he should get away with it, but there are penalties for crimes committed and I don't think that that was a reasonable punishment for the crime committed.
“I am also not saying that nothing should happen in terms of consequences. He was working. You see him with the farmers, you see him going around, they have problems with infestation and he bears with them…how many other ministers you see working like that?
“We, as MPs, got promised 100 tablets for the start of the new school year in September. The tablets have not been bought yet, and you hear that it is a process. You have areas that do not have any connectivity, children can't go to school, teachers can't operate and nothing happens. When you look at all these things, I think it's a real unfair treatment for a youth like Floyd, who is working. It's almost like you are saying it's better if you beat somebody with a chair and you will be alright. And those are the things that the country needs to discuss.
“In addition,” Graham said, “nobody got into trouble for giving permission for Dream Weekend, Mocha Fest, cruise ship coming in on no-movement day, and things like that.”
Graham was quick to point out that he does not enjoy a “personal relationship” with the former minister, describing Green as someone he knows well.
“I wouldn't say he's a brethren that I 'par' with or party with, but he is somebody who will, for example, chair a meeting and I am a member of the meeting that he is chairing and you see his involvement, you see how he behaves and you see his presentations in Parliament. He is not an aggressive youth so, to me, if anybody was to have got a chance, it would be him. It's not like he killed somebody or caused a farmer to die, or caused a whole crop to be wiped out because he gave them bad herbicides and fertilisers. I think it was quite unfortunate.
“Then, maybe Andrew [Holness] had to do something with all the things that were going wrong in the country, and it just fell on Floyd... as they say, the straw that broke the camel's back,” Graham said.