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Campaigning now could discourage foreign investments, PM says

Andrew’s language can incite political warfare

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, November 26, 2012    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the People's National Party Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has blasted Opposition Leader Andrew Holness's recent utterances that his party has started campaigning, noting that those comments could compromise Jamaica's international relationship.

"The policy of ruin to win by the JLP leader is corrosive, it is clearly intended to undermine relationships between Jamaica and the international community, and could not come at a worse time when Government is in negotiation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)," the prime minister argued.

"This serves to discourage foreign investments because if you are going to have four years of election campaigning what is going to happen in the country? He should be called upon by leaders with experience in the Jamaica Labour Party to resist and desist any kind of demonstration of immature leadership" Simpson Miller stated.

The prime minister questioned the Opposition leader's patriotism and stopped just short of accusing him of attempting to sabotage the impending IMF deal with Jamaica.

"The nation must record the JLP's argument leading up to the election was that if the PNP wins we would not be able to get a programme from the IMF. I wonder why the public outburst at this time? The fact that the negotiations are proceeding? Is there something that somebody is panicking?" she questioned.

"I want to send him (Holness) a message — stop cheering for any appearance of bad news for Jamaica. Every Jamaican with a love in the heart for people and for country never cheer at any bad news for the country. We would feel sad and depressed. He should desist from taking a posture that suggest that he would be happy if Jamaica suffer since he and the JLP are not in power," the prime minister said.

Simpson Miller was speaking during the PNP's National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Wexford Court Hotel in Montego Bay yesterday.

She said that she allowed several opportunities to respond to Holness's comments to pass during several public appearances last week as she waited to respond from a political platform.

"I want to send an advise to the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party... if you noticed I did not respond although I spoke on a number of public occasions. He said it on a political platform and so I am responding from this platform of the National Executive Council of the PNP because I keep politics out of the business of Government and governance," the PNP president said.

She added: "You know what is sad, if it was a Portia that said that, if a Portia ever said that, made that kind of outburst, almost screaming, Oh Lord! Well the point is, it is not my time now. It is not the People's National Party time now, it is Jamaica time and the people of Jamaica. It is their time," she said.

Accusing the Opposition Leader of also using "a language that could incite political warfare", Simpson Miller recalled that during her tenure as leader of the Opposition she resisted calls to stage a demonstration against the JLP-led Government, much to the ire of many comrades.

"I prevented a major demonstration and was criticised as being a weak leader by my own party that I was not getting the people on the road. But my information could not allow me to do that. I love the Jamaican people and I love Jamaica too much to get myself involved in anything that could be negative and divisive to the country."

"We had a NEC meeting and I indicated to the NEC no demonstrations by the People's National Party and asked no member of the party or supporters to join any such demonstration. Was that weakness or leadership? I will never destroy the journey started by our ancestors — the movement of outstanding men and women of the PNP or the movement of Sir Alexander Bustamante. Not me."

She lamented that the Opposition leader could be making expressions which could destabilise the country where persons in several sections are in the process of picking up the pieces after the passage of Hurricane Sandy.

"His utterances are bordering on the acts of national destabilisation, bordering on sabotage and treachery. The language of political warfare comes at a time when sections of our island's people have lost their homes. Their lives turned upside down. Now is not a time for divisiveness, it is a time for unity in the interest of the people and not some — all the people."

She also lashed Holness for expressing that he was irritated with the PNP-led administration.

"At that conference — which was more like our NEC here in terms of numbers — he indicated that he is sick and tired of myself and the Government that I lead. This is not an issue that he has the competence to speak on, nor the experience, or moral authority. Did he not understand then that the majority of Jamaicans rejected his leadership? In our democracy comrades, it is the people that have the final say. They said it December 28, 2011," Simpson Miller said.

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