Wed | Mar 21, 2018

Editorial | Moral cowardice, Mr Warmington

Published:Friday | November 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM

People always understood Everald Warmington to be a crude, crass, loud-mouthed boor, but we never questioned his courage.

We were wrong! We misunderstood all along. Never mind his flipping of the bird at critics in the gallery of Parliament, his salvos against the press, the insults he throws at female journalists, and the constant threat of disruption he seems to hold over his party. For behind the bluster and noisy petulance that characterise Mr Warmington's life in politics hides a moral coward.

That became clear in his latest broadside in Parliament on Tuesday against this newspaper and what we interpret to be other platforms in the RJRGLEANER Communications Group.

This time, though, Mr Warmington found a pair of trousers behind which he sought legitimacy and, perhaps unconsciously, protection.

This newspaper makes no secret of its abhorrence of Everald Warmington's perennial misbehaviour, which we believe brings into disrepute the big idea of parliamentary membership. We have called him out on this.

We have often made known our opposition to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), whose parliamentary oversight committee Mr Warmington chairs, and criticise politicians of all stripes, Mr Warmington included, for their embrace of this scheme that perpetuates the politics of patronage. Mr Warmington responds, usually, with tantrums.

He did that again on Tuesday in his response to our rebuke of his rant last week against the press for its criticism of his declaration during the campaign for the South East St Mary by-election that it made no sense to elect the opposition candidate when the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) holds the Government. Most people who heard Mr Warmington were convinced that he implied the possibility of taxpayer-funded goods and services being withheld from the constituency if an opposition MP held the seat. They were revolted.


Tirade with a twist


But this Tuesday's parliamentary tirade came with a twist.

Mr Warmington said: "I didn't want to stoop to their level to say anything, but The Gleaner Company and RJR, they have not masked their plan and programme and their desire. The Gleaner Company and RJR, their aim is to undermine Prime Minister Andrew Holness and to defeat his Government. The Gleaner Company and RJR, that is their agenda."

So it is that Mr Warmington uncharacteristically reached for his party leader's pantaloons while reinforcing that shelter with the umbrella of the wider JLP. So, it is not Mr Warmington with whom people have a problem. Rather, he implies, the criticisms against him are part of a grand conspiracy against the JLP administration.

We don't know, and it matters little to this newspaper, whether Prime Minister Holness harbours such silly notions about this newspaper. The objective facts speak for themselves.

But we believe we understand why Mr Warmington would attempt to draw that card. The JLP's victory in St Mary increased the party's single-seat majority in Parliament to three and provides Mr Holness with a bit more insulation against Mr Warmington's unpredictability. The PM has greater freedom to retreat from his role as a Warmington enabler.

Seen differently, Mr Warmington's declaration on Tuesday was no great act of party loyalty, but of self-preservation.

And in that, Mr Warmington is not brave. Indeed, there are many other ways to describe such behaviour.