Editorial

A promising start by Councillor Brown Burke

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

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Senator Angela Brown Burke has opened her innings as the People's National Party (PNP) candidate for the St Andrew South Western constituency on a promising note.

A report in this newspaper tells us that Mrs Brown Burke has started laying the foundation for healing and cooperation after what was a short but bitter campaign to replace Mrs Portia Simpson Miller, who has stepped down from representational politics.

We don't expect that political campaigns will be akin to Sunday School. They must, of necessity, be hard-fought, driven by clear articulation of vision and ideology and, ideally, must be well managed. However, we don't accept that contests among politicians should become nasty and violent which, thankfully, was not the case with the St Andrew South Western race, despite one extremely unfortunate statement from Councillor Karl Blake who supported Senator Brown Burke.

That statement resulted in Councillor Audrey Smith Facey, the other contestant for the seat, appealing to the party to take disciplinary action against Councillor Blake.

So far, we are yet to hear if the PNP acted on Councillor Smith Facey's appeal. If it has, the public should be told. However, if it hasn't, the PNP runs the risk of allowing the type of indiscipline and divisiveness that dogged it going into the last general election to continue.

The party also needs to give full support to any effort by Senator Brown Burke to mend fences, just as it must also signal to Mrs Smith Facey, the councillor of the Payne Land Division in the constituency, that it respects and values her many years of contribution.

Councillor Brown Burke, an outsider to the area, has admitted that rebuilding unity among PNP supporters in the divided constituency will not be an easy task. However, she said that she has been talking with constituents and has been reminding them that she and Councillor Smith Facey are “going to have to work together”.

She is, of course, correct, and we wish her all the best while we extend our heartiest congratulations to her.

 

Maduro Gov't mishandling Venezuelan crisis

We join the appeal by United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to the Venezuelan Government to make “all possible efforts” to ease tensions and prevent further violence in that country.

Readers following the sad developments in Venezuela would have been aware of the fact that two opposition politicians — Messrs Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma, the mayor of Caracas — were dragged from their homes Monday night and taken back to prison.

According to Venezuela's Supreme Court, both men had violated the terms of their house arrest and had a plan to flee the country.

Lawyers representing both men have denied the accusations.

This Gestapo-like action by the State, we hold, will only serve to inflame passions and give further legitimacy to the Opposition's claim that the country is sliding slowly toward authoritarianism, especially after Sunday's vote to elect a new assembly that will be given the task of rewriting the constitution.

The Maduro Administration is not doing itself any favours by its mishandling of this crisis.

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