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Holness being dishonest, says PNP

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) has lashed Prime Minister Andrew Holness for what it said was the PM's move to “mislead the House and the country in saying that it was the PNP which had insisted that registration under National Identity Registration (NIDS) be compulsory.”

The party in a news release on Wednesday said that it did not instruct the Holness Administration to include any clause in the NIDS Bill, which has been immersed in a pool of controversy.

According to the PNP five months ago in June, a meeting, chaired by Holness and which involved some of its members held wide-ranging talks on the proposed NIDS Bill.

The PNP members, the party said, members went specifically to hear the Government's proposals and learn about what was to be included in the proposed Bill.

“At that time, the PNP did not have a settled position on any of the issues and, therefore, could not have put forward a position,” the PNP statement said, insisting that any statement to the contrary would be a “misrepresentation of the facts”.

“At that meeting, the prime minister agreed to communicate with the members in two weeks regarding the views expressed. This did not take place and the only communication that came about the project was in September when he indicated Government's intention to take the legislation through all the stages in the Parliament.

“Any reference to any proposal from the PNP is simply a red herring intended to deflect attention from the Government's intransigence at every stage to put the Bill before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament,” the party's President, Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips said.

The PNP insists that Holness' comments in Parliament on Tuesday “were meant to distract from his breaking his solemn word to the Opposition and civil society present in the gallery that the Government would not move to consider the 168 Senate amendments until a later date. This was a breach of trust.

“The Party remains firm in its resolve that the Bill is of fundamental interest to every single Jamaican citizen and given the implications in the confused way in which it was drafted, it is critical that it is put before a Joint Select Committee for fulsome review and that all stakeholders who wish to participate may have their say.

“On Tuesday, the prime minister deliberately misled the House when he indicated the amendments from the Senate would be taken at a later date. Indeed, his minister of justice indicated that time was needed for members to consider the amendments,” the PNP said.

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