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PNP's threat to withdraw from Vale Royal Talks a retrograde step – G2K

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP's) young professionals affiliate Generation 2000 (G2K) has described threats from the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) to withdraw from the Vale Royal Talks as “self-serving and retrograde”.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips on Monday threatened that the PNP would withdraw its cooperation on a range of matters of national importance if Prime Minister Andrew Holness does not remove Dr Andrew Wheatley from all ministerial duties over the corruption scandal that has engulfed the State oil refinery — PetroJam.

“Smooth government in our system requires extensive cooperation between Government and Opposition in all kinds of areas — cooperation in relation to the passage of legislation, consultation and collaboration in regards to appointment of boards, (and) far-reaching policy initiatives. All of these things, including how we conduct ourselves in the Parliament are standard in our democracy. What we are saying is that we expect the prime minister to act, and failure to do so will bring into question the basis for further collaboration in all of these areas,” Phillips said at a news conference.

But G2K says Phillips' threat to withdraw from the Vale Royal Talks is a disservice, since the talk is a mechanism for the two main political parties to have bipartisan dialogue on critical national issues. Items that were on the agenda for the April 2018 meeting included national security, electoral re-verification and chairmanship of Parliamentary committees.

According to G2K President, Stephen Edwards, “it is the nature of our democracy that there will always be matters on which Government and the Opposition disagree. However, there are many critical matters that we should approach in a bi-partisan manner and find common ground . It is shameful that Dr Phillips would be willing to disregard so many issues of national importance because the Opposition disagrees with the Government on a single matter. While Dr Phillips might be willing to 'cut off his nose to spite his face', the level of political immaturity that is being displayed by the opposition does the people of Jamaica a terrible disservice.”