Holness tells Labourites to remain calm amid anti-corruption issues

Monday, October 14, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — “Calm yourselves,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday urged Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters and “concerned” Jamaicans distressed by the current anti-corruption issues.

“Once the electorate has to decide what this Government did when it was faced with issues of corruption versus what the pretenders did when they had power, the people will see that this Government believed in transparency, and believed in the institutions of the State which were set up to investigate and prosecute corruption,” Holness told the crowd at Sunday's meeting of the JLP's Area Council One, which covers Corporate Area constituencies.

The prime minister also warned the Opposition that it is dangerous to try to put pressure on the anti-corruption machinery to act, as it could lead people to believe that they only act under political pressure, or they are politically biased.

“I think it is a dangerous road on which we are treading, and that is why I am saying to my party and I am saying to you the supporters of the party, and I am saying to our ministers, we must never publicly criticise the independent authorities in carrying out their jobs,” he said.

“No agency, no institution, no human being is infallible. People will make mistakes, but there are processes to be followed and we must never seek to politicise the actions of these agencies,” he added.

The prime minister was speaking on the backdrop of the arrest and charges brought against former Minister of Education Ruel Reid, his wife and daughter, as well as the president of the Caribbean Maritime University (CMU) Professor Fritz Pinnock, and JLP Councillor for Brown's Town, St Ann, Kim Brown Lawrence on corruption charges relating to their relationship with the university.

Following the arrest, Justice Minister Delroy Chuckhad questioned the decision by investigative agencies to carry out early-morning raids and cautioned the agencies to ensure that the evidence they are relying on to charge the five individuals was sufficient to successfully carry out a prosecution in the courts.

The comments attracted a barrage of criticism, causing the minister to backtrack.

Balford Henry


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