I consider myself a very harsh critic of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, even though I believe that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is currently the best party for Jamaica.
Prime Minister Holness has been referred to the director of corruption prosecution for conflict of interest, making him the first prime minister to be so referred.
The Integrity Commission is relatively new, and perhaps if it were around from 1962 all former prime ministers would've been referred for conflict of interest with regard to contracts.
I am against corruption and have been very outspoken about my views, but I believe we should wait on the final report of the corruption prosecutor to see if fines and/or charges will be laid against the prime minister, who should have the right to defend himself before we call for him to go.
Prime Minister Holness is being referred to the corruption prosecutor for contracts issued when he was education minister, not prime minister. So comparing him to prime ministers accused of corruption while in office is disingenuous.
There is a big difference between how contracts were issued 14 years ago and how they are issued now.
I understand the perception of corruption will damage the prime minister's brand because he was viewed by the public as new and different and is the youngest prime minister the country has had to date. Expectations are high. However, I believe this accusation is his biggest challenge since becoming prime minister. So, for now, I stand with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and expect him to remain prime minister.
Worst case scenario would be for a motion of no confidence to be brought against him by a member on his side or even by the Opposition. But I believe he will survive. The popular Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau survived a no confidence vote; United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived several no confidence votes; and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and many other popular leaders have survived no confidence votes.
The Jamaica Labour Party bench is strong. Dr Horace Chang, the deputy prime minister, could act as interim prime minister if Holness does decide to resign; meanwhile, a permanent replacement could be selected from the likes of Dr Christopher Tufton, Dr Nigel Clarke, Floyd Green, or Pearnel Charles Jr.
I don't believe this is a witch-hunt being carried out against Prime Minister Holness. If you want to know what a witch-hunt is, just look at what is happening to former US president and now presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
Ocho Rios, St Ann
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