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Holness needs to make an about-turn

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Dear Editor,

I had listened and was moved by the inaugural speech of Prime Minister Andrew, Holness but I have come to the conclusion that his words were a sham as he has now resorted to refilling the 'swamp' of old-style politics.

Those of us who listened the speech would have thought that a new day was approaching on how we conduct our politics and how governments govern, but after nearly two years in office Holness and his Government have reversed the vehicle of governance down the road where former prime ministers Bruce Golding, Portia Simpson Miller and P J Patterson have scorned and driven away from.

We have watched how this Government has appointed only Jamaica Labour Party 'people' to head State boards and as members of those boards, rather than the best-suited person. We have seen how State funds have been spent under questionable circumstances, even allegedly to shore up the winnability of the party and its candidates in the last municipal election and the recent by-election in St Mary South Eastern.

We have heard divisive speeches from ministers of governments which are yet to be rebuked by the prime minister. We are yet to hear the prime minister speak on the burning issue of the possibility of mining in the Cockpit Country. What has struck me most in this “swamp” filling process by the prime minister is that issues that he promised to deal with in the first 100 days in office, such as impeachment legislation to remove corrupt officials, is not even on the stove, much more the back burner.

Holness said ministers would have been under constant performance review and be under strict target-delivery mode, but what we have seen are ministers racking up millions of dollars in phone bills at the expense of taxpayers.

The gesture of Holness of walking barefooted through a river to empathise with the cut-off communities in Broadgate in St Mary has given little comfort to Jamaicans that they can sleep with their doors open as promised.

Holness had said the elderly and the marginalised would be earmarked for interventions to improve their quality of life, but what we have seen to date are rising costs of living for these groups on account of the Government's ill-advised '$1.5-m tax break'.

If Holness wants to be the transformational leader that he says he wants to be based on his speech, then he has to make an about-turn and dust himself off of old-style politics, as Jamaicans are watching him.


Fernandez Smith

Former JLP councillor


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