The miseducation and indoctrination of Senator Abka Fitz-Henley
Senator Abka Fitz-Henley (centre)

We hope that, by now, Senator Damion Crawford would have crossed the floor — pun intended — made his way to his newly minted colleague, Mr Abka Fitz-Henley, to educate him on how to avoid the 'foot-in-mouth' disease which afflicts politicians.

Arguably, it is necessary to allow young politicians some room to err and to learn from those mistakes on the way to maturity. We have, in the past, had reason to chide Senator Crawford about his loose comments. However, since then he has been exemplary, and his growing maturity is something to behold. He therefore has something to teach Senator Fitz-Henley.

Notwithstanding our willingness to be patient with Mr Fitz-Henley, we are sorely disappointed with what can only be described as his decidedly unforced error in describing Opposition Senator Donna Scott Mottley as "a twist-up mouth one" at a political gathering.

As if that were not bad enough, Mr Fitz-Henley later offered a most lame excuse for an apology, saying: "I have absolutely no issue immediately retracting the 'twist-up mouth' phrasing in prefacing my response to her attack, and if, in fact, she is offended, sincere apologies to her."

When will politicians learn that a sincere apology does not carry any conditions attached? Saying "if, in fact, she is offended" does not suggest he is contrite and genuinely wants to make amends for a crass attack on his opponent's physical appearance.

It is worth noting how rapidly Mr Fitz-Henley has descended into political platform speech, goaded on by the wild, intoxicating cheers of adulation from party supporters often enjoying the entertainment of the moment. But it can be dangerous as examples for their irrational action later.

His appointment as a senator was only in May this year and has followed a stellar career in journalism that would cause one to believe that he would be exceptional and constitute an astute choice by the governing Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

Mr Fitz-Henley is described as a multiple award-winning journalist who rose through the ranks at the outstanding Nationwide News Network and distinguished himself throughout his 10 years with Mr Cliff Hughes' outfit.

He won the prestigious Young Journalist of the Year award from the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) and later grabbed the Journalist of the Year Award reserved for older journalists — a feat nothing short of impressive.

Having served as parliamentary correspondent at Nationwide, he would have covered some of the missteps that politicians make, including the indomitable Mr Everald Warmington. Furthermore, he is the recipient of the Prime Minister's Youth Award for Excellence, and over the years has appeared as a guest on the World Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and BBC London.

No wonder that, in what would appear a fit of jealousy that the JLP had recruited Mr Fitz-Henley, Dr Dayton Campbell, the People's National Party general secretary, used that to accuse Nationwide, rather foolishly, of being "an incubator for the JLP".

Senator Fitz-Henley had better watch his mouth. Jamaica badly needs talented young men like him.

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