When are Jamaican politicians going to eschew political tribalism? When are they going to stop encouraging this mindset among their supporters?
Here is what National Integrity Action (NIA) has to say on the matter in a press release today:
October 17, 2017
Every decent and law abiding Jamaican, including supporters of both Political Parties who would wish Jamaica to leave behind “political tribalism” must repudiate the weekend remarks of Minister Warmington that “it makes no sense to elect a PNP Member of Parliament when you have a JLP Government… if you have a JLP MP he will be able to serve you far better.”
This remark clearly suggests that scarce public resources should be allocated and public contracts should be awarded by the political party in office on the basis of partisan favouritism, thereby:
a. Violating Jamaica’s Constitution which enshrines for each Jamaican “the right to freedom from discrimination on the ground of… political opinions” (Chapter 3, Section 3.3 i); and
b. Breaching Jamaica’s Code of Political Conduct signed by both the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party which states that “Officials who…have control or influence over the appropriation of public funds should not discriminate against any individual, group or community on the basis of Political allegiance or support.”
National Integrity Action (NIA) wishes to remind all Jamaicans that twenty years ago (July 1997) the Report of the National Committee on Political Tribalism, (chaired by Justice Kerr, on which representatives of all political parties and civil society served) concluded that “Patronage and the allocation of scarce benefits… have served to create violent divisions between beneficiaries and supporters of opposing parties” (Political Tribalism Report, pg. 45). No patriotic Jamaican would wish to return to the days of those “violent divisions.”
Prime Minister Holness and well-thinking leaders of the Jamaica Labour Party need to reject this approach, as should the leadership of the People’s National Party. Unfortunately, it is not the first time that Member of Parliament Warmington has made utterances seeking to justify discrimination of one set of Jamaicans by another. The Gleaner of January 16, 2014 reported that Warmington “speaking at a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Area Council two conference in Spanish Town… said people who do not vote… should not expect to get any benefits from his office.” At that time the Gleaner reported that the “Jamaica Labour Party leader Andrew Holness… says Warmington’s comments are regrettable and do not reflect the views of the JLP.”
As he did in January 2014, Prime Minister Holness needs to repudiate Minister Warmington’s comments of October 2017 or indicate whether Warmington’s comments, in
current circumstances, “reflect the views of the JLP.”
Contact National Integrity Action at 2 Holborn Road, Kingston 10 or P.O. Box 112, Kingston 7.
Tel: 876-906-4371; 906-9190; 906-9462; 908-3365; Toll free: 1-888-429-5562 Fax: 876-754-7951
You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @niajamaica