JLP Gov't rapidly losing ground, PNP leader tells annual conferenceMonday, October 18, 2021
By Alphea Sumner
Leader of the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) Mark Golding pledged his party's commitment to righting societal injustices in Jamaica and ensuring that anti-corruption laws work effectively.
“The way in which the current prime minister's orders under the DRMA [Disaster Risk Management Act] have been enforced during the pandemic has deepened the general belief that there are in reality two Jamaicas – one for the wealthy, the powerful, and the politically connected, and the other for ordinary Jamaicans who face the full brunt of these arbitrary and sometimes oppressive laws.
“This kind of deferential treatment undermines social cohesion, it breeds cynicism and resentment,” Golding said, as he addressed the public session of the PNP's 83rd annual conference at the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC) on Sunday.
This year, the conference was held virtually due to ongoing COVID-19 safety measures.He said a PNP Government will be committed to making anti-corruption laws and institutions — some of which were conceptualised during the PNP's last Administration – work for good governance of the country.“
The systems of accountability cannot exist only in theory, people must see them working so that they can believe that the rule of law applies to us all. Our policies must be about tackling inequality and investing in our people,” he said.
Golding said the party is now going through a process of transformation and renewal, and that various mechanisms are being established to facilitate this, including the democratisation of its internal election processes, the resolution for which has been approved and submitted to the regional groups for consideration.“
Why should every member of our party who is in good standing not enjoy the right to vote in party elections? The delegate-based voting system belongs to a bygone era and it is time to modernise the party by deepening the democratic principles by which we operate,” Golding insisted.
He also noted the establishment of a trust fund to assist party workers who have fallen on hard times, and that the 17-member junior shadow Cabinet is already dealing with policy issues and providing valuable insight and perspectives.
Golding asserted that the Jamaica Labour Party Government is rapidly losing ground, and the PNP is positioning itself to resume state power.
“Our next Government will resolutely and determinedly tackle the major issues facing the Jamaican people. It is time for all hands on deck, it is time for us to pull together as one team, united and strong. I'm confident that we are moving in the right direction,” the party leader declared. He reiterated some of the previous promises made by the party, such as removing the guarantor requirement by the Students' Loan Bureau (SLB), as well as capping SLB debts to 15 per cent of borrowers' monthly salaries.
Golding renewed a call made by former prime minister and party president, Dr Peter Phillips, for the minimum wage to be increased to $12,500. He said a PNP Administration would be committed to ensuring a livable minimum wage, with annual increases in keeping with cost of living.