Wed | Jun 19, 2024

Grange: I have the greatest respect for PJ

Sports minister rejects claim that she ignored former PM in Instagram post

Published:Tuesday | May 28, 2024 | 12:09 AMAdrian Frater/Gleaner Writer
Sports Minister Olivia Grange (left) greeting former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson at a cricket match between the West Indies and South Africa at Sabina Park in Kingston on the weekend.
Sports Minister Olivia Grange (left) greeting former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson at a cricket match between the West Indies and South Africa at Sabina Park in Kingston on the weekend.

WESTERN BUREAU:

Sports Minister Olivia Grange has dismissed as untrue and tribal a statement from the opposition People’s National Party (PNP) accusing her of posting a photograph on her Instagram page in which she did not recognise former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, who appeared alongside her and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

According to Grange, in one post, a series of photographs were uploaded to the platform with general captions covering all images, which merely stated “me and the PM greeting”.

She said in a second post, which showcased individuals, Patterson was duly recognised.

“The photos in the first post were covered by a general caption, stating, me and the PM greeting people at cricket,” Grange told The Gleaner yesterday. “I did a second caption covering individual photos, including one with me and Mr Patterson, in which he was recognised. It is therefore not true that Mr Patterson was not recognised ... . They just ignored the photo with me and Mr Patterson, and the second caption, which recognised some of the people we [met] and [greeted].

“The post from the PNP is not honest. They are not telling the truth and they are being very tribal about it,” added Grange, noting that she found the situation most disappointing.

The sports minister said she has the greatest respect for Patterson, who has the enviable distinction of being Jamaica’s longest-serving prime minister. At the personal level, she said they enjoy a very good relationship.

“Mr Patterson’s daughter and my daughter were best friends while they attended school at Campion,” said Grange. “If Mr Patterson was late to pick up his daughter after school, I would pick her up and take her home, and Mr Patterson would do the same if I was running late.”

GRANGE’S EXPLANATION

In seeking to minimise the complaint from the PNP, Grange said that on Labour Day, she invited Opposition Leader Mark Golding and Kingston Mayor Andrew Swaby to the national project, and in the photograph Golding posted, he only recognised the mayor, who was not in the photograph, and ignored her and Holness, who were both in the photograph.

“Me and the prime minister were standing beside him in the photograph, and he ignored us in his caption, but I did not make a fuss about it,” said Grange.

In the PNP’s release, it said the alleged ignoring of Patterson was not an isolated incident, citing the incident in April when a photograph on the Instagram account of Alando Terrelonge, state minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had the faces of former PNP prime ministers Patterson and Portia Simpson Miller covered with emojis, while the faces of Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) prime ministers Holness, Edward Seaga and Bruce Golding were left intact.

The PNP said it was calling on the Government, particularly Senator Dana Morris Dixon, minister with responsibility for information and digital transformation, to explain whether the Government has a social media policy that streamlines official government sources, differentiating between personal and official social media pages.

“The public should be informed if a page is personal/partisan and not to be treated as an official government communication channel. Management of personal pages should not be funded by public resources,” the PNP statement said.

adrian.frater@gleanerjm.com