PM: corruption warning to JLP
Buffeted by a wave of public criticisms in the wake of at least two major scandals bedevilling his administration this year, Prime Minister Andrew Holness delivered a stern warning to the hierarchy of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) on the weekend.
The prime minister admitted that the “real” job of a representative can easily be forgotten.
“That is the challenge now, when it becomes about ourselves, that is when we become permissive of corruption. That is when we become accepting of corruption … when we lose sight of the voice, the vision and the vote of the people,” Holness said, as he sought to take on the issue of corruption which the Opposition People’s National Party has been hammering since the Petrojam scandal broke earlier this year and forced Dr Andrew Wheatley to resign as energy minister.
The Ministry of Education-Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) scandal, which also unfolded this year, has led to the sacking of another high-profile government official – Education Minister Ruel Reid.
Reid and CMU President Fritz Pinnock are facing corruption charges while Reid’s wife, Sharen; their daughter, Sharelle; and Brown’s Town councillor, the JLP’s Kim Brown Lawrence, are to answer to conspiracy to defraud and possession of criminal property charges.
Holness, who was speaking at a closed-door meeting in St Ann, said that representatives are sometimes insensitive to the plight of desperate people who have placed faith in them to help better their circumstances and instead have abused them and their votes.
He said behaviours of some representatives could obstruct the vision of prosperity for the people as the JLP had promised.
“This is real. Poverty is real. And your jobs here are not about your own ego, your own pockets, it’s not about your own path to prosperity. It’s about answering that question as to how we going to get this young mother with the two babies, with the roof leaking like crazy, how are we going to get her some prosperity?” Holness told the JLP leadership.
Holness stressed that he was intent on maintaining the legitimacy of the Government and also safeguarding the faith of the people.