Speaking to the arrests of former Education Minister, Ruel Reid, Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) President, Fritz Pinnock, and a JLP Parish Councillor in St. Ann, in what appeared to be coördinated law-enforcement raids, the leader of the political opposition made the following statements.
In a release from Peter Phillips, the PNP said it regards the arrest of former Education Minister Ruel Reid and CMU President Fritz Pinnock as a beginning, but an important step in Jamaica’s efforts to clean up corruption and create an environment of good governance and probity in public affairs.
The release said that it was too early to make a detailed statement but it is closely monitoring the situation and awaiting further announcements from the Financial Investigations Divisions and the Major Organised Crime Agency.
“The party will make a fulsome statement on the development when warranted,” said the PNP as it argued that other investigative reports on Petrojam and NESoL “were long overdue”.
“The PNP feels it is important that the situation, which persisted in some of these agencies and organizations for well over a year, be brought to an end and the Jamaican people be provided with the relevant information.”
The statement from the Opposition leader and the opposition PNP sounds rather reasonable to an onlooker who has no historical knowledge of Jamaican politics.
To informed bystanders and other stakeholders however, this statement by the opposition leader and the PNP in general, stinks of rank hypocrisy.
Peter Phillips, KD Knight, Omar Davies, AJ Nicholson, and others have actively been in politics as long as I have been alive, maybe longer.
In the time ensuing, both in Government and in opposition, Peter Phillips and the PNP have had ample time to champion the cause of honesty, decency, decorum, and the removal of corruption from the Jamaican political system.
Never once has Phillips or his party seen fit to address the scandals, gross theft, and the egregious corrupt practices that the PNP has engaged in, which has become one of the things for which the PNP is known.
In fact, on one occasion when journalists confronted the last PNP Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, about one of the scandals, (the Trafigura scandal to be exact), she scampered away while telling journalists dismissively, to go ask the PNP. (Yes the same PNP of which she was the head).
It is with that disdain and contempt that the PNP holds the general public, a public it panders and lies to, when it’s desperate for political power.
Neither the PNP nor its principal officers feel that they owe the Jamaican people an explanation for the billions of dollars they siphon off, with which they pad their own pockets.
From as far back as the Iran sugar deal and even much farther back, “Shell Waiver Scandal” , Trafigura, and Outameani. Scandals in which PNP members collected monies to the tune of tens of millions of US$ and fail to turn the monies over to the party, the Cuban light bulb scandal and the endless list of graft, theft, and corruption for which the party has become infamous,. Forgive me a moment if this self-righteous statement from the PNP makes me want to puke.
My research was minimal, but some friends found this.
Unfortunately for the ruling JLP, all have been members of that party.
Neville Cleveland Lewis and J A G Smith, both went to prison.
The PNP should take no comfort from this, neither should it harvest any glee from it. The PNP may seek to market this as some kind of indication of its honesty, rather it should be seen that the JLP has been far less tolerant of corruption within its ranks, even though corruption may be found in both political parties.
The fact of the matter is that there have been exponentially more scandals attributed to the PNP than has been attributed to the JLP.
The PNP has been far more aggressive with its propaganda campaigns because of its entrenched surrogates within the local media entities.
Insofar as the elevated levels of corruption within PNP administrations have been over the JLP are concerned, that may be attributed to the simple fact that the PNP has held power for longer periods of time.
The message coming out of Peter Phillips s mouth, is exactly what our country needs, rigorous oversight, but beyond that, strengthening and restructuring the guard rail around public resources is critical.
Kleptomaniacs within both political parties should look at public service as an honor and a patriotic duty, not an opportunity to get rich overnight.
When we get to a place where there are sufficient guard rails in place on the one hand, and aggressive criminal prosecutions on the other, the thieves will seek employment elsewhere.
Then maybe we may have in Gordon house people of character who will legislate rather than bang on desks and shout moronic comments at each other.
In the meantime, neither the PNP nor Peter Phillips has the moral character or credibility to speak to corruption in Jamaica.
This article has been updated since it was first published.
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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