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Ruddy Spencer apologises, condemns political tribalism

Thursday, April 05, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — State Minister Rudyard Spencer has apologised for his utterances in a political speech that supporters and members of his governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) are now in a better position to get help from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA).

The apology came at a meeting on Tuesday, according to a letter sent to Spencer from the Office of the Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment and copied to the media.

In the letter, the Ombudsman said the state minister “voluntarily extend(s) a complete and unreserved apology to the people of Jamaica, the Opposition and the Jamaica Labour Party” for the statement.

He also condemned political tribalism in all its forms and indicated that the statement does not reflect his values and beliefs nor those of party leader and Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Additionally, Spencer committed to upholding the values of Jamaica's democracy and to serve all the people of Jamaica equally, the Ombudsman stated.

Spencer had found himself in the midst of a firestorm of criticism for telling Labourites at a political meeting in Bellefield, Manchester last month that now that a member of the JLP is at the helm of the RADA, whatever issues they had faced with receiving assistance from the entity, which provides agricultural extension services, were of the past.

“We have a system where we will now have our own chairman of RADA and things have been happening and things can happen at RADA. But naturally, you will meet some bottlenecks because we have just taken over the system and we are trying to find our way around the system. Where you never have a parish manager for RADA, you now have a Labourite being the chairman of RADA, so whatever problems you used to have … I believe now most of those problems would have gone away because you have your own manager to assist in the management of RADA … So, therefore, you can't say that you are getting no attention, you can't say nothing is happening, because in fairness, you have your own manager to report whatever problems you have and expect him to solve those problems,” he told the crowd, where some reportedly sought to remind him of media presence.

Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Clarendon North Western, Michael Stern, who lost his seat in the 2011 general election, was appointed RADA chairman in August of last year.


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