Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PNP group raps Seaga over threat to bring down Gov't
Observer Reporter
Saturday, February 22, 2003

THE Patriots, an affiliate group of the governing People's National Party (PNP), said the recent threat by Opposition Leader Edward Seaga to bring down the Government, was "clear proof" that the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) had not accepted the results of the October 2003 general elections.

In a keenly fought contest, the PNP won 34 of the 60 seats in Parliament, with the JLP winning 26.

According to the group of young professionals, Seaga's comments showed that the JLP was "hell bent on taking power through confrontation".

"Mr Seaga needs to be reminded that the country has rejected this kind of reckless and divisive politics," the group stated in a press release Thursday.

On Tuesday, Seaga issued a statement indicating that the JLP was withdrawing from co-operation with the Patterson Administration because of corruption.

"...The Opposition has decided that it will no longer offer its hand of cooperation to a government which has proven to be, and continues to prove that it is the most corrupt administration in our history, and one of the very worst in this region," said Seaga.

He added that the party's Standing Committee had decided that the Opposition "will now pursue a course to oppose, oppose and oppose this regime until we bring it down".

Seaga's remarks were apparently triggered by Prime Minister P J Patterson's decision to stand by Finance Minister Dr Omar Davies.

Davies came under fire for his recent admission that he had permitted expenditure last calendar year, in order to gain political advantage, and in the process, exacerbated the country's fiscal account.

The JLP leadership subsequently explained that its planned opposition of the Government would not include street protest or the boycott of parliamentary committees. However, the party will not continue the scheduled bi-partisan consultations at Vale Royal, the prime minister's official residence.

On Wednesday, acting prime minister, Dr Peter Phillips, said the "tone, manner and substance" of Seaga's statement indicated a "clear threat of destabilisation of the country".

"His threat quote '(to) oppose, oppose and oppose this regime until we bring it down' is sinister in the extreme," claimed Phillips.

Regarding the charge of corruption by the Government, Phillips itemised various measures the administration have taken to curb corruption. These include the establishment of the Contracts Commission and the Corruption Prevention Commission.

On Thursday, the Patriots suggested that the opposition leader had "no moral authority" to speak about mismanagement and corruption based on his administration's record during the 1980s.

The group noted further that Seaga continued to refuse to answer several questions raised about the management of his financial affairs, and how this would impact on his performance if he were to be returned to lead the country.