Thu | Nov 23, 2017

Editorial | Ms Munroe and Mr Warmington’s other enablers

Published:Thursday | November 9, 2017 | 12:06 AM

Everald Warmington has long since not been the problem. It's his enablers, of which there are many, the most important being Prime Minister Andrew Holness. In April 2016, more than two months after the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) narrowly won the general elections, Mr Warmington, the member of Parliament (MP) for South West St Catherine, was surreptitiously sworn in as a minister of state, assigned to the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). Mr Holness, with a majority of a single seat in Parliament, apparently felt compelled to appease his rude and combative party member or risk his walk-out and a collapse of the Government.

Mr Holness has previously been accommodating, if not deferential, to Mr Warmington such as in 2015 when, in flashing off the press at the JLP's headquarters, the MP, perhaps inadvertently, hit a female reporter from this newspaper. At the same venue a fortnight later, Mr Warmington twice flipped the bird at journalists, as he done a few years in earlier to media managers sitting in the gallery at Parliament.

On the eve of the recent by-election in South East St Mary, Mr Warmington warned constituents that it wouldn't be sensible to vote for the candidate of the People's National Party when the JLP formed the Government, implying that with an opposition MP, the constituency could well be starved of the goods and services provided by the Government. Mr Holness failed to repudiate his minister or this brand of politics.

These are not all of Mr Warmington's infractions under Mr Holness' stewardship. But neither is he the only JLP leader and prime minister to have been acquiescent to or indulgent of the South West St Catherine MP. For instance, Bruce Golding, Mr Holness's predecessor, did nothing when in a 2011 live television interview, Mr Warmington told a female presenter to "go to hell" while being questioned on the ethics of having stayed in Parliament for nearly five years, knowing that he was disqualified because of his dual-citizenship status.

Neither was Mr Warmington disavowed by his leader in 2010 when he called then contractor general Greg Christie an "overzealous idiot" and a "mental case" because of Mr Christie's probe of government contracts awarded to a construction firm in which the parliamentarian reportedly had ownership interests. Nor did it happen over his brazen advice to Moveta Munroe, the head of the OPM unit that oversees the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), to exclude the contractor general and his officers from meetings to discuss the award of contracts under the CDF. "Just bar him," Mr Warmington said.

 

SPECIAL CASE

 

Now, Ms Munroe is a special case as one of Mr Warmington's enablers. Although the CDF is one of those slithery pork barrels into which politicians so love to dive, she is a civil servant and not formally a politician. Her public pronouncements on the scheme, or matters related thereto, are expected, therefore, to be apolitical.

But Ms Munroe, who once worked at this newspaper in circulation and advertising, bared herself this week, while aligning herself with the obnoxious Mr Warmington during one of his rants against reporters and the press at a CDF committee meeting in Parliament. Taking umbrage to coverage on his South East St Mary remarks, Mr Warmington accused the media of reporting "fake news" a term popularised by the contemporary politician he most resembles: America's Donald Trump.

" ... It's a shame how they keep blowing smoke up the rear end of Jamaicans," Warmington added.

"It's true, it's true," Ms Munroe said.

We'll ignore any other of Ms Munroe's past indiscretions. That she is at one with Mr Everald Warmington speaks volumes on its own.