'PNP was not able to carry Jamaica not even in a straight line'

NAIN, St Elizabeth — Government minister and Member of Parliament for Clarendon South East Pearnel Charles Jr has chastised the Opposition for its recent criticism of the Government's handling of the economy while insisting that in better times a People's National Party (PNP) Government struggled to manage the affairs of the country.

"We have proven this because, in the best of times when other countries were going up, when countries that don't have what we have were doing well, the PNP was not able to carry Jamaica not even in a straight line," he told the Myersville divisional conference in Nain on Sunday.

"The [Jamaica] Labour Party has a very important role for Jamaica. We are here to protect the country. We are here to make sure that the country that we have steered through the hardest times is not tricked and fooled by those who can chat, but cannot do," said Charles.

He said the Government is steering the country through a difficult time.

"There has never been a time like this, but luckily we have a Government that has prepared itself, and that has put the country in good stead, allowing us to go through COVID-19 when other countries are at war and protesting; believe me, Jamaica has been going through [and] navigating positive moves," he said.

The agriculture minister said he along with his state minister Frank Witter are focused on the country's food security.

"… We have made a commitment to the prime minister that we are going to do what is necessary to make sure this country is prepared for what is coming. Food security is the number one priority across the world," he said.

"This party (JLP) is always in power when the times are toughest. We are always selected by the Almighty to carry Jamaica through the storm, but this time we nah carry Jamaica through the storm and then jump off the boat…" he added.

JLP Chairman and Member of Parliament for St Mary Western Robert "Bobby" Montague, in endorsing former educator Delroy Hutchinson as councillor/caretaker for the Myersville Division, said the JLP has managed to bring the country through harsh economic challenges.

"We are living in interesting times. This country went through a serious pandemic over the last two years. We faced a pandemic when the economy had to be locked down," he said.

Myersville, represented by the PNP's Layton Smith, is the only division controlled by that party in St Elizabeth South Eastern. It is traditionally a stronghold for the PNP.

Montague commended JLP leader and Prime Minister Andrew Holness for the Government's welfare programmes to assist the most vulnerable as well as provisions to increase Internet connectivity in deep rural Jamaica since the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Montague said Labourites in Myersville should reward the work of Prime Minister Holness by helping to make him the country's longest-serving prime minister.

"We are going to start that progress by making sure that Delroy Hutchinson becomes the councillor for Myersville. We want to continue to control the St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation," he added.

Government minister and Member of Parliament for Clarendon South Eastern Pearnel Charles Jr speaking at the Jamaica Labour Party's Myersville divisional conference in Nain, St Elizabeth, on Sunday.
Kasey Williams

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