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Julian Robinson, Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, January 18, 2018: The Shadow Cabinet of the People’s National Party will embark on a three-day retreat beginning, Friday, January 19.

The Party will use the opportunity to explore new policy directions, reflecting on what has worked, what has not been as effective as intended and how to approach some of the challenges facing Jamaica with new solutions. This is in keeping with its preparation process for governance.

The Shadow Ministers will also discuss the findings of the Commissions on Land Ownership, Education and Youth Employment and the New Economy. The Commissions, which were launched last year, focused on the main pillars of the platform for inclusive growth under a PNP–led government. They were tasked to develop new ideas and proposals that would inform and drive Party policies in these critical areas, in line with the PNP’s consistent commitment to social justice and equality.

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Fitz Jackson, Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, January 18, 2018: The People’s National Party (PNP) takes note of the State of Emergency (SoE) declared in the parish of St. James.

The Party says that based on the spiralling crime rate in Montego Bay, the failure of the Zone of Special Operation to arrest the number of murders, blatant lawlessness and continued threat to life, the city had reached a near state of anarchy which could not be allowed to persist.

The people of Jamaica, including the Opposition, have been calling for a response from Government throughout the past year. Some 1617 Jamaicans were murdered in 2017 and already more than 63 persons have been killed since the start of this year.

“The main victims of this wave of unchecked criminality are the ordinary citizens of St James who have been abused and murdered in this atmosphere of wanton violence.” PNP president Dr. Peter Phillips said.

The PNP says it lends qualified support to this effort and will await the regulations governing the operations of the State of Emergency which are required to be placed before the Parliament. The Party is insisting that a robust, accessible and viable mechanism to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens during the operations must be in place.

The PNP says every effort must be made by the security forces to be vigilant, courageous, and determined in confronting the criminal threat, even as they are protective of the rights and interests of the law abiding citizens of the parish.

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Julian Robinson, Press Releases
Kingston, Jamaica, December 15, 2017: The Opposition, People’s National Party (PNP) has taken note of the ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States to repeal the 2015 Net Neutrality Rules. The Opposition wishes to affirm its commitment to fully support the principle and application of net neutrality in Jamaica.
 
Opposition Spokesman on Science and Technology, Julian Robinson says “Net neutrality is an important principle in maintaining a free and open Internet. Its application will ensure a level playfield, particularly for entrepreneurs and small businesses who depend on unimpeded access to the Internet to develop new products and services.
 
Robinson says “As a small developing country, innovation is critical to our growth and development. Net neutrality will foster equal access to the Internet facilitating innovation.”
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Denise Daley, Press Releases

People’s National Party (PNP) Region IV is saddened by the news of the shooting death of Councillor Caretaker Cde. Carol Ebanks and her son Jehvon Myles.

Cde. Ebanks was the chairman of the May Pen North Division and represented the Party in the November 2016 Local Government Election.

She was an active member of the Region and was willing and ready to work with the team in Clarendon Central and the Region. 

The Region is shocked and disheartened as we reflect on her contribution, and more so as we face the harsh and deadly impact of crime on our society.

Cde. Ebanks’ passing is a clear indication that no one is exempt from this monster that has gripped our nation. This development sends an even louder signal for a stance to be taken against crime and violence.

We now await further updates on the untimely passing Cde. Ebanks and her son. As a Region we will endeavour to give support to the grieving family members, friends and colleagues.

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Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, December 14, 2017: The People’s National Party (PNP) this morning is shocked and deeply saddened by the untimely death of Clarendon Councillor Candidate Coral Ebanks and her son, who both were attacked and killed by gunmen on Wednesday night.

Describing the deaths as a major tragedy, Party President Dr. Peter Phillips said the young councillor candidate has lost her life in the prime of her years.

“This is another episode that underscores the urgent need to stop the bloodletting.” Dr. Phillips said.“What should be the season of peace and goodwill has found many families suffering and in mourning.”

The PNP is calling on the police to move swiftly to investigate and bring to book the murderers who continue to plague the nation with impunity.

The Party expresses condolences to the family of Councillor CandidateEbanks and other families who are facing similar circumstances.

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Press Releases

Negril, Westmoreland, December 13, 2017: National Party Shadow Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament for Western Westmoreland, Dr. Wykeham McNeill is expressing deep sorrow at the death of Oshane Powell and his cousin, Renaldo Johnson, both of Westland Mountain in Negril in an incident in his constituency on Tuesday. The two young men were electrocuted after a power line reportedly fell on the motorcycle on which they were travelling in the resort town of Negril.

The people in the community, who have mounted protests against the JPS, have said that it was clear that the wires posed a danger and they had reported the situation to the power company on a number of occasions.

Dr. McNeil is calling on the power company to urgently attend to whatever repair may be necessary to restore electricity to the area as the outage is making the situation worse. He is also calling for a full investigation of this very unfortunate matter and ask that the JPS address the concerns of the residents so that justice is served.

He said the death of the two young men is beyond unfortunate and have left their community and the entire constituency in shock and sorrow. He said the people of Western Westmoreland mourned with their families.

“I urge the JPS to do its investigation and do what is good and proper under the circumstances.” Dr. McNeil said. “My condolences to the families”.

Reports are that the accident occurred sometime after 11:30 am as Johnson was riding his motorcycle along the West End main road, with Powell as a pillion, when a power line fell on the bike.

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Mikael Phillips, Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, December 9, 2017: The decision by the Andrew Holness cabinet to withdraw the moratorium granted to O’brien’s International Car Sales and Rental services to supply used cars to the police force, further deepens the scandalous saga and blights any possibility of the police having access to the vehicles any time soon.

In a statement to the media, the People’s National Party (PNP) said the cabinet’s decision to instruct the Ministry of National Security to formally write the General Accident Insurance Co. Ltd. to request payment of the Performance Bond is a new twist as the Minister announced in Parliament on Tuesday that his Ministry had already called the bond.  Contrary to Cabinet expectations that payment of the Bond will be expedited to enable the Ministry of National Security to use the Bonds proceeds to pay all necessary taxes and duties, the process will now be entangled in legal argument. So far from expediting the clearance of the vehicles, a court battle now looms.

 The PNP says the cabinet should not pretend that the decision to call the bond and use the funds to pay the duties is a victory, it is rather a clear indication that this contractor was not capable of meeting the terms stipulated in the agreement.

It is clear evidence that the security Ministry had done no due diligence examination of the supplier and that this contractor was selected for reasons outside of what is required under the established government procurement guidelines.

Prime Minister Holness and his cabinet also took a decision to amend the guidelines to included fit and proper criteria for suppliers’ of national security purchases. Surely, the cabinet must know that this is already provided for in the National Contracts Commission Registration process. Clause 3 of the Approved Suppliers Agreement further provides for a four year disqualification of suppliers who deliberately provide the NCC with false information. The Cabinet now needs to state whether O’brien’s International Car Sales and Rental is NCC registered and whether one of the directors declared that he was a drug offence deportee.

The Party says this cabinet cannot be trusted to act in the interest of the people of Jamaica and the fumbles and blunders of the Minister of National Security in securing basic and critical resources as motor vehicles for the police force in an environment of rampant murder, is a clear demonstration of the government’s ineptitude.

“This government is rewarding the incompetence of the leadership of the Ministry of National Security. First it awarded a major contract without proper due diligence, then sat idly by as the contractor breached the terms of the contract over and over again and now it is taking the taxpayer for a ride. Andrew Holness and his cabinet are under estimating the intelligence of the Jamaican people.“ Public Accounts and Appropriations Committee of House of Parliament (PAAC) member Mikael Phillips said.

He said based on what was outlined to the PAAC meeting two weeks ago, the contract with O’brien’s stipulates that the contractor would be responsible for any taxes and duties. This cabinet decision to call the bond and withdraw the moratorium granted by the Minister of Finance signal that the government does not take the issue of police mobility seriously, despite the skyrocketing murder rate.

Mr. Phillips says the contract must be rescinded and all the funds returned to the people of Jamaica. He said the matter must be treated with seriousness as the country cannot afford to be left in a bind and with a debt it need not have incurred.

In the meantime, he is urging government to act quickly in increasing the mobility of the force, but do so within the framework of the government procurement guidelines. Consequently, the Minister must now update the country on where will the 119 vehicles promised to the police before Christmas come from, since it must now be clear that the 66 on the wharf will not be available.

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Press Releases

Kingston, Jamaica, December 7, 2017: The People’s National Party (PNP) is aware of uncorroborated information circulating on social media linking an individual to the recent gun find in Miami, and that person’s association with Mr. Michael Troupe, the Councillor for the Granville Division of the St James Parish Council.  

The Party understands that the person named as consignee is a former employee of Councillor Troupe.

The Party has been in touch with the Councillor Troupe, who has indicated that the person who is now the focus of the investigation left his employment some three months ago.

Although this report has nothing to do with the PNP, the Party is nevertheless urging a swift investigation by both the local and US law enforcement agencies to determine the veracity and culpability of individuals in this extremely serious matter.

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Julian Robinson, Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 7, 2017:  The People’s National Party (PNP) repudiates Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ contemptuous dismissal and rubbishing of the damning report from the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) on the corruption involved in the $800 million de-bushing programme to the Office of the Contractor General, executed by prior to the Local Government elections last year.

In a statement backing its General Secretary condemnation of the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament last night, the PNP said the OCG’s report on the de-bushing and drain cleaning programme underscored the depth of corruption, wanton dishonesty and the length of trickery that the Holness government unleashed on the people of this country and ought to be taken seriously by a Prime Minister, who claims to be interested in removing from his government any hint of stain and corruption.

The attitude displayed by the Prime Minister last night was contemptuous of the taxpayers of Jamaica and a brazen attempt to give comfort and succour to rule breaking within his government. It is this cavalier attitude which has caused the Contractor General to be conducting no less than four special investigations at present.

The Prime Minister needs to be reminded of the serious findings of the Contractor General’s report including the fact that cabinet selected the contractors contrary to law, no joint inspection of work by the NWA and contractors, unsigned payment vouchers based on work not measured, funds paid to contractors without payment vouchers, which resulted in the OCG being unable to verify payment of over $507.8 million.

In addition, the PNP says the Prime Minister has not investigated or commented on specific allegations made by Contractor Vincent Taylor relating to the involvement of at least five JLP Members of Parliament.  Those allegations included the fact that those MPs instructed to whom cheques should be payable and the amount. The use of facilitators named by the politicians was also criticised by the CG, who described it as a corruption enabling mechanism.

The report also found ministers such as Robert Montague were not only naming who should to paid, but providing banking information, therefore stating in what account the money ought to be lodged.

In his response to the questions about the Report, the Prime Minister during Wednesday’s sitting of Parliament lambasted the OCG for what he said amounted to making a mountain out of a mole hill about what is routine operations in constituencies when contracts are issued. The PNP described those statement as arrogant and served as encouragement for MPs to improperly insert themselves in contract award and management.

The Party expressed alarm at Mr. Holness attempts to bamboozle the House and the Jamaican people, and said it insults the intelligence of every member of this Parliament and the intelligence of the people of Jamaica.

The PNP says, Mr. Holness’ attempts to obfuscate on the issue, only serves to confirm that he leads and rubber stamps the open acts of corruption and the blatant systems of deception in which his government is engaged. The fact that the OCG viewed the activities as corrupt and called out three senior Government Ministers for shady operations, and named one as mendacious, must to be taken and treated with seriousness and cannot be set aside as frivolous.

The reckless and corrupt handling of taxpayers’ money and the gross deficiencies in governance of our nation are cause for very serious concern.

The PNP says the barefaced act of breaching the set procurement rules and their cabinet rules in a vulgar voter buying exercise disguised as a de-bushing programme has seen no consequent fallout or condemnation from Holness who has, on many occasions postured that he is anti-corruption.

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Press Releases

KINGSTON, Jamaica, December 5, 2017:  The People’s National Party (PNP) views with grave concern efforts by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to censor free expression, which is the Constitutional right of every Jamaican.

The PNP notes that content on several social media accounts have been removed at the request of the OPM and in instances, the pages of the individuals have been completely shut down by the networks. The OPM, which has a responsibility to protect the rights of all Jamaicans, has accused the owners of copyright infringements relating to a public town hall meeting involving Prime Minister Andrew Holness, where it has been alleged that the footage from the town hall was “spliced”.

The claim relates to a video exchange, made in the public space, with members of the public, about an issue of significant public interest, but which was considered unflattering to the Prime Minister in the manner he responded to the questions from the attendee.

The controversial content, targeted by the OPM, is the video of the recent town hall, which shows PM Holness appearing to be visibly angry and in the opinion of many persons, verbally abusive to a young man who asked about the National Identification Registration System (NIDS) Bill and suggested that it be placed before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament.

The PNP says further that accusations from the OPM that the video was “spliced” are disingenuous as the apparently angry tone and disrespectful words of the Prime Minister were not edited and cannot be misunderstood.

The Party says, any effort to curtail the freedom of expression of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution is not only a step in the wrong direction, but sadly is no different from what obtains in a dictatorship, and this approach to governance will be resisted.

The Party is calling on PM Holness to ensure that he and his Administration uphold the laws of the land and allow the people of Jamaica their freedom of expression and speech, a right entrenched in the nation’s Constitution. We warn Mr. Holness to pull back from this posture of ‘imperial lordship’ before it is too late.

The PNP condemns any effort to infringe on the right of free expression and any act that amounts to the verbal abuse of the people. Every citizen of Jamaica has the right to free speech and to question the government’s action.

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