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Phillips says Holness gov't hit record levels of corruption in 2 years

Monday, July 23, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party (PNP) President and Opposition Leader, Dr Peter Phillips, says the Andrew Holness-led administration has, in two years, hit a record in the levels of corruption, which he claims has not been experienced in Jamaica since independence.

Phillips, who was addressing the two-day NEC meeting at the University of the West Indies, expressed that the country has been mired in a pit of corruption, starting just months into the new administration of the Jamaica Labour Party with the 600-million-dollar de-bushing programme and continuing with the PetroJam and NESOL scandals; and the $200 million Used Car Scandal.

“The ministry that used to be the Ministry of Science Technology and Energy is compromised in every respect. Highly qualified persons who have worked in key positions and have given exemplary service to the country, across different administrations, were fired and they have been replaced by who have no other qualification other than that they are connected to the political directorate of the country,” Phillips was quoted as saying in a release from the party.

He also said the current administration has sunken to a new low that even the church, the private sector and other civil society groups have had to call them out on their corrupt practices.

According to the release, he warned that the rampant corruption in the government, which has led to the erosion of public trust in the governance of the nation, will not be tolerated by the PNP.

The PNP has made a public call for the removal of Dr Andrew Wheatley from the Cabinet but instead, “we are seeing the JLP government choosing to protect one individual at the risk of the entire country. We saw it first in 2010, and now they are doing the same thing again,” Dr Phillips reasoned.

“All of us became victims and are still suffering from the price paid in 2010 to reputation of our country locally and internationally, and again another JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) government has placed the country's reputation at risk of further erosion after it was carefully restored by the last PNP administration,” he added.

Meanwhile, Phillips claimed that the Government’s attempt to arrest crime with the state of emergency has cost more than a quarter of a billion dollars, which he contended could have been spent on enhancing aspects of the police force to enable it to better fight crime generally.

“With the state of emergency, we have to ask ourselves: are we getting value for money? A quarter billion dollar spent on the one area alone over the seven months (of state of emergency) we don’t have the cost of the military and what is the result 2,700 people detained of which 150 plus are charged and we are told only 20 of those are gang members quite frankly the question must arise could we get better value for quarter billion dollars properly spent on upgrading the police force?” he said.

The party leader assured that: “This Jamaica belongs to all of us. Some people want to treat it as if it is their own personal property. And want to treat it as if the tax payers’ money belongs to them personally, we will not permit it. We will not accommodate it and we will resist it with every ounce of energy.

“I want to give the country the assurance of the People’s National Party that we are determined in our ranks to maintain the highest standards of integrity and be intolerant of corruption.”

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