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People’s National Party (PNP) Vice President Dr. Wykeham McNeill today (February 27) stated that instead of taking an unwarranted victory lap on the first anniversary of the last general elections, which the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won by the razor thin margin of one seat, the administration should be focusing on how they can make good on the long list of unfulfilled election promises as well as under-achievement in critical areas of national life. Dr. McNeill was speaking at the end of today’s (February 26) meeting of the PNP Regional Executive Council (REC) held at the Knockalva technical school.

Most glaring of all their failures is the much-touted election promise of an $18,000.00 per month tax rebate. When they first posited the idea, it was roundly rejected by the then governing PNP, economists and some stakeholders. The JLP assured the nation that no new taxes would be required to fund it. In fact, $13 billion in taxes was added to fund the first phase in July of last year. In another few weeks, an additional $16 billion in new taxes will be announced.

To date, the crime monster, which the JLP stated they would curb, is completely out of hand. Prime Minister Holness’ election promise to the people was his assurance that they could sleep with their windows and doors open if he and the JLP were elected. “What we have seen instead,” said Dr. McNeill, “is a growing murder rate.”

In 2016, after Holness and the JLP came to power, Jamaica recorded 1,350 murders, a stunning 12% increase over the previous year. We are still in the month of February, and police data show that as of Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 177 Jamaicans have been murdered. Of that total, St. James accounts for 29 and Hanover 13. The Westmoreland numbers have not yet come in.

To compound matters, the crime fighting budget is sorely underfunded. In this environment, sleeping with our doors and windows open would be more than foolhardy, he stated.

The Minister of Health seems clearly out of his depth and one telling example of non-performance is the situation at the Cornwall Regional Hospital. The Education sector is another example of unfulfilled promises and incompetence. The promise of an end to auxiliary and mandatory fees was to ease the burden on parents but what we have operating now is even greater costs for parents with the new name given to the fees such as School Development Contribution which can be as high as $25,000, with no additional allocation for Education in the new Budget.

While these promises go out the window, the JLP administration continues to take credit for the foundational work of the PNP which accounts for the success that is being achieved in the Energy, Tourism and Infrastructure sectors. The uptick in the economy is a direct result of the vision, hard work, and strategic investment of the PNP and the sacrifices made by the Jamaican people, Dr. McNeill concluded.

Delegates at the regional meeting took the opportunity to pay tribute to outgoing Party President, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller and to thank her for her tremendous contribution to the Party and the nation and to endorse party president designate Dr. Peter Phillips.

The meeting concluded with delegates resolving to continue the ground work and reorganization necessary to prepare the party for an election whenever it is called.