Time to check Warmington, PM
Everald Warmington (right) speaks in Parliament while Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) looks on. (Photo: Michael Gordon)

Dear Editor,

The recent statements by Everald Warmington, Member of Parliament, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation has attracted widespread disapproval, dismay, and deserved condemnation from all sectors of Jamaican society.

We also wish to express our disappointment, dismay, and disapproval.

Notwithstanding the egregious nature of Warmington's recent statements and his long history of behaviour and utterances unbecoming of a national leader, we are also mindful of statements and behaviour of political leaders from both parties in recent times, and historically, which have been dishonouring and disrespectful to others. The public of Jamaica was also recently treated to the spectacle of Warmington's colleagues laughing, cheering, and applauding as he behaved with gross disrespect to the Speaker of the House, a member of his own party.

Not only has Warmington not seen it fit to apologise, but the persistent failure or refusal of his colleagues, the leadership of his party, and Prime Minister Andrew Holness to acknowledge that his statements are simply wrong, unacceptable, and unbecoming of a leader is the truly troubling aspect of this saga.

Surely it must be obvious to our political leaders that they set an example for others to follow, that they cannot speak about sound moral values and be critical of negative social behaviour in the public while either behaving this way themselves or tolerating and even cheering and supporting a colleague who acts or speaks in this way. How can they call upon the people of Jamaica to treat each other with respect when they, our leaders, seemingly have no problem with this behaviour from one of their own? The public sees it for what it is.

The huge trust deficit which exists in Jamaica, which hampers our development and growth as a nation and our ability to successfully tackle many problems only grows in this culture of disrespect and dishonour. The Bible records how one leader who was aware of the very public disrespectful and dishonouring behaviour of his sons failed to address their behaviour, failed to rebuke and correct them, and brought disaster and judgement on himself and his nation.

In this instance we call on the prime minister, who has sought to set an example of dignity and decorum in his public behaviour and speech, to no longer be silent. We call on him to set the example for his party, parliamentary colleagues, and the public by doing the right thing and indicate his disapproval of the utterances and behaviour of Warmington and others who would seek to disrespect and dishonour and hold them to a higher standard.

We call on both the prime minister, the leader of the Opposition, and the Members of Parliament to give more than lip service to the line of our national anthem which says, "Teach us true respect for all."

Bishop Dr Neville G Owens

President

Independent Churches of Jamaica (ICJ)

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