Thu | Jun 20, 2024

Holness: JLP not the same party of the ‘80s

... urges JLP base to counter negative mood fuelled by political operatives

Published:Tuesday | June 11, 2024 | 12:10 AMKimone Francis/Senior Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressing the St Andrew East Rural constituency conference on the weekend. Holness, who is the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, urged party faithful to not be drawn in by rumours spread by political operatives.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness addressing the St Andrew East Rural constituency conference on the weekend. Holness, who is the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, urged party faithful to not be drawn in by rumours spread by political operatives.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says political operatives have created a negative mood in the country that has left Jamaicans feeling “conflicted” about his Government’s achievements, rallying the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) base to counter this with positive messaging.

Holness, who was speaking at the St Andrew East Rural Area Council constituency conference on Sunday, said politically connected persons are paying to engage in character assassination and to have misinformation and lies spread across social media.

He said while Jamaicans readily agree that his administration is far superior to the opposition People’s National Party (PNP) in managing the economy, healthcare, education, crime, and infrastructure, negative messages are being crafted and disseminated that some will believe without hesitation.

“This artificially created negative mood in the country creates the conflict. That is the issue. So, the JLP must now go back to its base. The Jamaica Labour Party is not the same Jamaica Labour Party of the ‘80s,” Holness said.

“We are not going to sit by and allow the PNP to use false information to damage and attack the reputation of hardworking and decent Jamaicans who have given their lives, their energy to this country,” he added.

Suggesting that he has been the victim of some of the attacks, Holness declared that he did not enter representational politics to build his résumé.

He said he was “born for politics” and has pursued it his entire life. He said he is in the field not for self-aggrandisement but to serve.

He further stated that political operatives have been seeking to distract from this mission and noted that even JLP supporters have fallen victim to the plot.

“Even some of our own people end up believing some of the foolishness, but you never hear me engage in any argument with nobody. No matter how them write bad article, bad editorial, fake and false news, mi nuh answer them. It takes two to have an argument and mi nuh inna nuh argument with nobody,” the prime minister said.

Holness said he has never entertained gutter politics and warned those who engage in this to be wary of it coming back to them.

“When you a dig pit … ,” Holness said, pausing to allow his audience to complete the saying, to “dig two”.

His comments come days after Manchester Central Member of Parliament Rhoda Moy Crawford lamented on a radio programme that rumours of an intimate relationship between her and Holness have caused her serious distress.

She denied the allegations, which have been making the rounds on social media for years.

Holness, who has never addressed the rumours, told Labourites to focus on the party’s achievements when engaging others.

Pivoting to St Andrew East Rural, which is represented in Parliament by his wife, House Speaker Juliet Holness, the prime minister said she has managed to bring a big constituency together.

Still, he said infrastructure challenges are numerous in the hilly constituency, pointing to a significant lack of potable water.

He said the constituency will benefit from the $1 billion he announced in his Budget Debate presentation in March that will be used for small water projects.

He said the money will be used to develop small water catchments within the constituency to bring relief to constituents.

“So, Madam MP, Madam Speaker, your constituency will get serious attention as it relates to your water situation, particularly the water situation up in the hills,” said Holness.

He said roadwork under the $40-billion SPARK (Shared Prosperity Through Accelerated Improvement to Our Road Network) programme will also be done in the constituency.

kimone.francis@gleanerjm.com