Antidemocratic principles of Andrew Holness
By Marston Gordon
Oct 23, 2019, 07:05
Former prime minister Edward Seaga was branded as “One Don” but we later discovered that he understood more the nature of our local politicians thereby closely overseeing their portfolio ministries. Notwithstanding, J.A.G Smith (former minister of labour, JLP government of 1980- 1989) became the only post independence politician to be imprisoned, and it came to light soon after the PNP took power in 1989.
Ruel Reid on secondment from Jamaica College in March 2016 was fired as minister of education by Holness in March 2019. Prior to that Reid served as one of Holness’ advisor between 2007 and 2011 when Holness served as minister of education; a thorough investigation should be launched during the Holness/Reid period.
As opposition leader, Holness appointed Reid to the senate (2013) as one of the replacements for Christopher Tufton and Arthur Williams (with presigned resignation letters which the constitutional court later ruled to be unconstitutional) as the latter two backed Audley Shaw in the leadership challenge.
National Identification System (NIDS)
Since our article in February 2019 on NIDS (enacted November 23, 2017) the Supreme Court of Jamaica has subsequently declared the entire law null and void and in violation of the constitution (April 2019). It is now back to the drawing board but don’t be surprised if Holness springs another blotter, as he is wont to do.
Access to information (ATI)
The Access to Information Act (2002) gives the public the general right of access to official government information which would otherwise be inaccessible. There are specific exemptions that cover areas like security, defence etc. which becomes less risky or relevant over time.
Earlier this month the Holness government introduced two resolutions to increase the wait time for members of the public to have access to Cabinet documents from 20 to 70 years, his main reason for doing so is to protect individuals who might be alive at the time of access.
It is absurd that politicians who are elected by their constituents to represent them are afraid to make known their deliberations to the very people whose business they are there to attend.
The public outcry has dissuaded Holness from proceeding for now, but wait there little.
Bernard Lodge Housing Development
Holness is bent on building houses on the Bernard Lodge lands despite the expert advising against it and against common sense. He has recently given in (paused), by increasing the acreage set aside for agricultural purposes but it is unclear if the number of houses to be built has changed.
Farming on small plots is uneconomical and Jamaican farmers are unable to compete with their overseas counterparts with acreage touching the horizon, planting, tending and reaping with mechanical means. Protecting our farmers with tariffs, quotas and having preferential access is in the distant past and burdens the poor. This lands is our last chance at sustainable food security.
Mining in the Cockpit Country
Watch Holness on this one also.
Source: Jamaica Gleaner, Jamaica Observer
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