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Mikael Phillips, Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 7, 2017: The People’s National Party is extremely concerned at the escalating public protests and road blocks over the deteriorating road infrastructure in many parishes and the apparent lack of response by the government and local authorities with responsibility for the road network. 

In a statement this afternoon, the party Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Mikael Phillips said, the wanton lack of maintenance of the nation’s road network by the Andrew Holness led-administration has now resulted in a series of public protests in St. Thomas, Clarendon, Westmoreland, St. James and St. Catherine with life-threatening consequences. The absence of any ongoing road maintenance programme, coupled with the heavy rains that have been pelting the island over the past months have combined to ensure greater hardship for Jamaicans in their communities all over the island.

The PNP Spokesman said, it is an attitude of callousness on the part of government to ignore months of protest by the people, demanding that their roads be repaired.  The continuous non-response is causing increasing frustration and daily escalation of demonstrations as no one speaks to the people, or has even acknowledged their plight, including the obvious danger some of these roads pose to life and limb.  

The spokesman said, he is very concerned as large sections of the nation’s road network have been left to waste away while the public coffers are being raided for political endeavors and there are claims of lack of money to address these roads.  This is also happening against reports that the roadway to the Prime Minister’s unoccupied residence in Beverly Hills is being expanded to improve access.

Mr. Phillips said, the people of St. Thomas and St. James have been crying out in daily protests to no avail. In those parishes, in particular, the protests have impacted negatively on schools and economic activities as workers and students were not able to pass the road blocks.

He said, the government in its callous approach is failing to make the link between maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure and the lack of growth, especially in the farming and industrial sectors. Instead, they continue to dole out road repairs in a partisan manner, robbing taxpayers of the right to good and proper services from the national agencies. 

Against this background, the party is sounding an early warning about an imminent massive road work project which is to be undertaken shortly.  Based on preliminary reports, the design and allocation are similar to the previous programme, which ensured that constituencies held by Jamaica Labour Party members enjoyed a disproportionate share of the allocation. 

The PNP calls on the Holness government to immediately do what is necessary to address the poor state of the country’s road infrastructure and ensure that the allocation for repairs to the road network is devoid of partisanship. The situation has impacted too many of our people across the island, who chose to live, work and raise their families here.


Julian Robinson, Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 7, 2017:  The People’s National Party (PNP) rejects completely suggestions by JLP’s General Secretary, Dr. Horace Chang that the party is “responsible for damage to public property, loss of income, school time as well as injuries to innocent Jamaicans.”  The response by JLP’s General Secretary to the protests by Jamaicans over the condition of the road network across the island is silly and quite laughable. 

In a statement today, the General Secretary of the PNP, Julian Robinson said, the party supports the right of Jamaicans to engage in peaceful protests, but at no time organised any of the road blocks and demonstrations now taking place in several places across several parishes.  

Dr. Chang should not confuse or make light of this spontaneous move of the people demanding action from an elected government over the obvious deterioration of the road network and the persistent non-response from central or local authorities.

The PNP General Secretary said, instead of trying to blame the PNP, it would be better for Dr. Chang, as a Minister in the responsible Ministry, to tell the protesters when their roads will be repaired.  The people have no more patience for another series of empty promises, not after the wanton spending of public funds and allocation of resources in the recent by-election in South East St. Mary, and the expansion of the roadway leading to the Beverly Hills private residence of the Prime Minister.

The JLP General Secretary should be totally ashamed of his government’s performance in infrastructure maintenance and development. Every project now underway is a direct result the MIDP which was developed and financed under the PNP government.

Mr. Robinson suggested that Chang ceases his shameless behaviour and respond to the open protest now taking place in at least five parishes so the people can resume their normal daily activities.


Fitz Jackson, Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 6, 2017: The People’s National Party (PNP) is alarmed at the reported blatant breach of the rules governing the use of a firearm by former Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate, Mr. Trevor Webb; and is calling on the police to immediately take over responsibility for the investigation of the incident from the Firearms Licensing Authority (FLA).

Shadow Minister on National Security, Mr. Fitz Jackson has written to Police Commissioner George Quallo on this troubling development. 

In a statement today, the party said it viewed the issue with utmost seriousness based on the prevailing crime and murder environment in Jamaica. It said based on a report in the Gleaner newspaper of Saturday, November 4, 2017, coupled with the on-going investigation by the Major Organised and Anti-Corruption Agency (MOCA) in the sale of firearm licenses to friends, cronies and the well-connected, the party has no confidence in the FLA’s administrative leadership to properly investigate and resolve this matter. 

The PNP considers this matter to be a breach of the Firearms Act, which demands a serious and deliberate set of actions to determine whether the former JLP candidate is in breach of any criminal law and should be sanctioned.  The FLA is not the appropriate body to investigate a possible breach of the criminal offence.

Based on a video that has appeared on social media and referenced in the Gleaner report, Mr. Webb engaged in the shooting of bottles set as targets in the hands and on the head of another man, in an open display of western-style bravado.  In the video, Webb and the other persons at the scene can be heard celebrating that all three bullets had gone “clean through the centre” of the bottles, including the one that was on the man’s head. 

Although the newspaper story reported Webb as claiming that the bullets were not real, the recorded expression of the group confirms that the bullets had the capacity to pierce flesh as they had proven that they could penetrate plastic bottles. This contradiction is even more reason for a police investigation to determine whether live rounds were used in the gimmickry.  It should be noted too that even if the bullets were not real, an offence could still have been committed.

This reckless and unlawful behaviour speaks not only to poor judgement, but also to an outright disregard for the law and regulations as well as established good governance and order. Webb, who is himself a former police officer, and one who sought election to the nation’s legislative body makes a mockery of Jamaica’s system of firearm regulation, which is now reeling from the recent scandal at the FLA. 

The PNP notes that the Firearm Licencing Authority (FLA) has been asked to handle this matter, but there is no indication that there is any criminal investigation so far. This begs the question, is Mr. Webb, based on his political association, above the law?

It also remains curious that the FLA, headed by another former JLP candidate, Mr. Shane Dalling, is handling this critical matter involving his political party colleague. Is an impartial outcome possible?  

This is yet another example of unacceptable governance issues being created by the Holness Administration’s penchant to place political operatives in sensitive positions.  The PNP said this matter had serious prosecutorial implications and it would be watching very carefully.