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Attorney general raps Opposition for criticism of IMF boss

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 09, 2014    

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Attorney General Patrick Atkinson says the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP's) crticism of Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde stems from their annoyance at the IMF's positive appraisal of the ruling People's National Party (PNP) Administration.

"... So you will find that it galls them (JLP) that this Government is the toast of all the financial institutions around the world. They hold Jamaica up as an example of a country doing the right thing. And so their (JLP) only answer is to criticise, not just criticising us, the Government, they now take to criticising the IMF and to going after Madame Lagarde, personally," Atkinson argued. "They realise that the PNP administration is succeeding, and they recognise that if the PNP administration succeeds, dog eat their political ambitions," he added.

Atkinson, who was addressing the public session of the PNP's North Trelawny constituency conference held at the Falmouth All-Age School on Sunday, was responding to charges by Opposition Spokesman on Finance Audley Shaw that some of the utterances made by Lagarde on her recent visit to Jamaica were controversial and inappropriate.

Shaw, addressing a recent Manchester Chamber of Commerce meeting, claimed that the IMF boss crossed the line from being non-political to making statements, which can be construed as political interference.

In the meantime, Atkinson, who warned that 'nowadays voters' cannot be easliy swayed, argued that in a bid to score political points, the Opposition JLP was insincere in its outlook of the Jamaican economy.

"I going say it, the Jamaica Labour Party Opposition is disingenuous in their opposition of the economic course that this administration is taking in this country. They are putting politics over the interest of Jamaica," said Atkinson, who is the member of Parliament for North Trelawny.

"I have to tell them that the Jamaican electorate is far more sophisticated than what it was years ago. The people can see through them and the people will hold them to account and will punish them for the stance they are taking," he added.

Guest speaker Dr Wykeham McNeill, minister of tourism and entertainment, said he could not see how the Opposition spokesman on finance was offering advice to the current administration which has so far passed four consecutive IMF tests, a feat which he said the JLP failed to accomplish when they formed the Government.

"We have done so well that the head of the IMF has come and said things are looking up for Jamaica. I now hear the Opposition Spokesman on finance Audley Shaw talking about all the things that we should do. He had the chance to do it, why didn't he do it then? What bothers me is here you have a man who went to the college with the IMF and him fail all four exams; him don't even take the exams and you have a man now who go to the tests take the four exams and pass the exams with flying colours, and after that them come down and say you on honour roll and you are criticising him? Something wrong with that," Dr McNeill said.

"I think what we need to do is have the Minister of Finance Peter Phillips give some extra lessons to Audley Shaw and we need to send him back to remedial school because something is wrong with that equation," said Dr McNeill.

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