Sun | May 28, 2017

Too much politics in Budget Debate - Phillips

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2015 | 3:00 AM

Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has indicated it is high time nationhood take precedence over political expedience, arguing that for years Jamaica has been bedevilled by an excessive amount of partisanship and political point-scoring which devalues debates in Parliament.

He said that in the most recent debate on the Appropriations Act, which was passed yesterday, the parliamentary opposition resorted to the misrepresentation of facts and the abuse of public officials and international partners in a bid to advance its causes.

"For example, the abuse of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), whether it be in reference to the passing of tests, or worse, to state that these tests are contrived, is not befitting of the opposition spokesman on finance and does the country no favours," Phillips said.

Closing the Budget Debate, the finance minister argued that the approach is "an insult to the very sacrifice that the people of Jamaica have had to make to meet the pre-conditions set in order to secure an agreement with the Fund".

"It is perfectly understandable, that each side in this House would seek to present themselves in the most favourable light. Electioneering is never far from the mind of any representative inside this House," the minister acknowledged.

"... Amidst this concern for the electoral contest, we nevertheless find the way to identify and debate, with truthfulness, honesty, sincerity, those issues that are fundamental to the existence and progress of our country. Truth should not become a casualty of our search for political advantage," he however added.

"If we don't proceed in that fashion, we would have forfeited not only the possibilities and prospects of our generation, but even more dauntingly, we would have forfeited the possibilities and prospects of future generations of Jamaicans," he added.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com