Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Kevin Sangster | Ferguson clarification concocted by PNP

Published:Wednesday | February 7, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Dr Fenton Ferguson has been one of my favourite People's National Party (PNP) politicians. He has been in my good books, as I have not found him to be politically toxic or overbearingly tribal in his approach to politics.

This, in part, may explain his electoral success in St Thomas Eastern, a constituency that voted overwhelmingly for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) until he entered the political scene in 1993.

Thus, when I saw The Gleaner front-page story headline of Thursday, February 1, 2018 by Romario Scott titled 'Don't blame Bobby - PNP vice-president defends under-pressure security minister', I was not surprised as I read the article that the PNP vice-president in question was Ferguson.

According to the article, Ferguson indicated that both major political parties, his PNP and the JLP that now forms the Government, should share the blame for our crime monster.

Ferguson was quoted in the article thus: "With what has happened in 2017 and the trend we have seen in 2018, I personally believe it is unfair that the burden of all of this could be placed at the feet of the minister," the minister being Bobby Montague.

Speaking in the presence of Montague at a ceremony for the presentation of six motor vehicles to the St Thomas division of the Jamaica Constabulary Force at the Morant Bay Police Station in his constituency, Ferguson was further quoted as declaring: "Jamaica is our country ... . We can't be talking about 'Jamaica, land we love', and at the political level we continue to be tribalists and divided, especially on matters of crime, health, and education."

After I finished reading the article, I found nothing but further evidence why Ferguson has earned his place as one of my favourite PNP politicians.

By the following day, I came upon another Gleaner article, this time headlined 'Ferguson clarifies statement on Montague'.

According to what appeared to be a press release from the PNP headquarters, Ferguson is supposed to have said: "There is nothing in his statement in St Thomas two days ago that absolves the present minister of national security, Robert Montague, and indeed the Holness Cabinet from the policy failures of the past two years, which have led to an out-of-control murder rate, widespread fear, and a run-down and demotivated Jamaica Constabulary Force."

Curiously, the statement did not aver that Scott misquoted or otherwise misrepresented Ferguson in the original article, for to do so would ostensibly make the goodly gentleman very economical with the truth.

It is my considered view that Ferguson had nothing to do with that lame attempt at 'clarifying' and was not so convicted and moved.

Rather, I believe, it was wholly concocted by the PNP, possibly without even any consultation with Ferguson, which has proven time and time again why that party arrogantly believes that, despite its history of setting back the progress of our country, it is better for it to (mis)govern Jamaica.

Thus, it is not wont to have anything said or done by any of its members that could make the JLP look attractive politically, even if one so doing is buttressed by hard facts and the truth.

- Kevin K.O. Sangster is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and sangstek@msn.com.