Has the PNP's Mr Fitz Jackson gone rogue?

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

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We are in no position to say whether Mr Fitz Jackson, the People's National Party (PNP) chairman and spokesman on national security, has gone rogue in seeming to depart from the party's policy on the joint approach to crime-fighting in Jamaica.

If he has, we expect that the party president and Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips will sit him down and school him in the ways of collective responsibility and ownership of party positions. If he has not, we should be told so.

After Dr Phillips had successfully pressured the Andrew Holness Administration into agreeing to restart talks on a national approach to dealing with the monster of crime and violence, we had sensed that Mr Jackson was at a loss how to effectively oppose in that new paradigm.

He has apparently now given up all together any attempt at finding new ways to carry out his job as Opposition spokesman on national security, opting to draw for what he is quite comfortable with old-time politics.

Not only has Mr Jackson resumed his pre-agreement ways by calling on the Government to do what he knows no other Government including PNP administrations had been able to do since Independence, he has taken to wild abandon.

The PNP chairman has called on the Government to find over $1 billion this month to provide a Christmas gift to each member of the security forces, ostensibly as reward for their hard work during the states of emergency (SOEs) in several parts of the island.

“Failure of the Government to even consider such a payment further underscores their insensitivity for the sacrifice being made by the police and other security personnel,” said Mr Jackson, as he waxed warm in his political opportunism.

The attempt at trying to score political points and curry favour with the security forces is so transparent that it could fool no one, but has left us to wonder what makes Mr Jackson so utterly desperate.

He knows that we no longer run our country's finances like a fry fish shop. Indeed, the responsible approach which started under the watch of his own party leader, who was then finance minister, has reaped big dividends for the economy and cannot be so wantonly reversed.

What is worse is that Mr Jackson pretends to have forgotten that there is supposed to be a national effort to fight crime, involving the two major parties, the private sector, civil society, and the Church.

That agreement was made on the basis that nothing tried by any party has worked so far; and on the recognition that only a national effort unifying the country around the broad objectives to fight crime could provide any hope of success.

The country has not been told of any breakdown in those talks that could explain why the PNP has resumed the useless one-upmanship that prevailed previously. Neither have we been informed that the PNP is no longer supporting the SOEs.

That, however, has not stopped Mr Jackson from issuing his news release telling us: “What more evidence does the Government need to be convinced that their SOE crime-fighting policy is only worsening the country's crime situation, and that there is an urgent need for change?”

So back to our question: Has Mr Jackson gone rogue?


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