It was refreshing to hear the Prime Minister talk about the ensuing corruption imbroglio involving Ruel Reid, Fritz Pinnock and others recently.
Addressing a JLP Area Council One meeting at the Girl Guides Association of Jamaica headquarters in St Andrew, the PM said he was saddened by the débâcle that has engulfed his administration.
“There is no question that it (Reid’s arrest) saddens me, that it saddens the entire party, and I know you who sit here as well, you are indeed very saddened, very concern about what happened.”
“I want to make it clear that … the Jamaica Labour Party that now has leadership and responsibility for the future of this country, the institution of the party, is strongly against anything that could be characterized as corruption, malfeasance, and abuse of public funds,” Holness stated, adding that concerns being raised are being taken seriously by the party.
“We will do everything in our power to ensure that wherever there is corruption, wherever there is the misuse of power, misappropriation of public resources, that this administration will ensure that the mechanisms are in place to ferret it out and bring them before the courts.”
“This Government understands that, so when we sit together as a Cabinet, when we sit together as a party, we have to look into ourselves, we have to reflect on what it is that we need to do, and the first thing is that the Government must never interfere in the independent processes to investigate and prosecute corruption.”
More than anything else he said, the Prime Minister said the following; “You play a very important role in holding Government to account. And what I know about the delegates and workers of the Jamaica Labour Party is that dem love dem party bad, but dem love dem country more.”
So he does get it. That was a charge to party faithful as to where their loyalties ought to be. Of course, many in attendance who were cheering the Prime Minister completely missed that charge, and one would guess it went over the heads of the majority of the hyper-partisans in the party.
That is what this writer has been saying to laborites. Nations have political parties for national development. Not the other way around.
We make the grave mistake in believing that our loyalties ought to be with the political parties of our choice. Our loyalties should be to our nation.
No, I don’t care about the argument that Comrades loyalty is to their party. We do not become our adversaries, we set examples for them to follow.
The People’s National Party has always had a cult-like persona. Members of the Jamaica Labor Party should not try to out-cult members of the PNP.
The overarching point as far as I am concerned is that even though the Prime Minister said the Government must never interfere in the independent processes to investigate and prosecute corruption.” It sends a chill down my spine, because that statement demonstrates that there is a lot more work to be done to build firewalls around our criminal justice process.
Even though I applaud the Prime Minister for openly making the statements he did, I wished he had gone farther by addressing the statements made by Delroy Chuck his Justice Minister who cannot seem to keep his mouth shut.
There are many ways to interfere in the criminal justice process. Chuck’s assault on law-enforcement was clearly a gratuitous and corrupt attempt at influencing a case which we are told is still under investigation.
That kind of interference is corruption and it needs to be called out for what it is.
Since we cannot un-hear what we already heard, I am not inclined to be responsive to the idea that he withdrew the statement he made.
That a Minister of Government would intervene, (verbally or otherwise) in an active investigation, and a case that has not come to a resolution, which involves a former colleague, is the very definition of corruption.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, a business owner, avid researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
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