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JLP wants PM to withdraw 'enemy of the state' comment

Says statement puts Opposition leader in harm's way

Saturday, February 02, 2013    

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THE Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) says it is shocked by a recent statement by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who told supporters at a party meeting in St Ann earlier this week that Opposition Leader Andrew Holness could be an "enemy of the State".

JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang, in a release yesterday, said that the term "enemy of the State" is a specific designation that refers to someone who has committed a crime against the nation.

"When a prime minister uses the term... it is potentially inciteful in our political context," Dr Chang said.

"We are calling on the prime minister to retract her comments and to reconsider the adversarial path on which she seems intent on taking the country," Chang demanded.

The party has, in the meantime, written Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington, stating that after careful consideration of the phrase "the Parliamentary Opposition is of the view that such a statement is inciteful and places the Leader of the Opposition in harm's way".

"It is not an inconsequential designation, especially when it is made by a prime minister of a country... We ask that you take careful note of the statement and our concerns for the safety and security of the leader of the Opposition and his family," the letter signed by the party's spokesman on national security, Delroy Chuck, stated.

Dr Chang, in expressing the party's concerns, stated that the Jamaican people could not continue to ignore and excuse "reckless statements" made by the prime minister.

"For some time now it has been a strategy of PNP administrations to attack and label opposition leaders. This time, Mrs Simpson-Miller has gone too far. Not only is the statement inflammatory and inciteful, but it is a departure from the civil and democratic practices of our society," the JLP official said.

"A new trend is emerging where anyone who speaks up about social ills or the performance of the Government, whether they be priest or politician, are targeted for threats and uncomplimentary labelling. The prime minister's statement is, in itself, a threat to the political stability of the nation and brings the office into disrepute," he added.

The releases emanating from the party were supported by similar statement issued by Generation 2000 (G2K), the JLP's young professionals arm; the Nationalist Patriotic Movement; and, Citizens Action for Principle and Integrity, whose spokesman is former JLP Senator Dennis Meadows.

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