Mon | Aug 21, 2017

PM-Holness stalemate

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2016 | 2:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Donna Parchment Brown

POLITICAL OMBUDSMAN Donna Parchment Brown says she is anxiously seeking to host a meeting with Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Opposition Leader Andrew Holness to address a raft of issues including the current raging national debate about Holness' acquisition of a property in Beverly Hills, St Andrew.

Yesterday, the political ombudsman said she received a response from Simpson Miller yesterday that she was unable to meet with her on Monday. Parchment Brown said she has not yet received a response from the opposition leader.

Ready for meeting

"I am hoping that they would take advantage of my [mediation skills]. I stand ready to have that meeting I can have it in the morning, I can have it in the evening, and I can have it in the daytime. Once I have a response and a time is indicated, I am willing to work through that time sooner rather than later," Parchment Brown said in a Gleaner interview.

She argued that several issues have emerged during the current political campaign in relation to the opposition leader. According to Parchment Brown, who is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that candidates observe the Political Code of Conduct, she is willing to meet with the opposition leader to discuss a range of issues.

"I was aware that the prime minister was concerned about Mr Holness' public utterances, and the leader of the opposition had also indicated his concerns about certain public utterances and in that context I had invited both of them to meet me today (Monday)."

"I do think there is increased polarisation and a degree of upset that's in the public domain, so I am interested in having a meeting to discuss what can be done about all of these matters that are in the public domain. I don't know that it would be within my responsibility to instruct any person to release any particular information - that's a judgement call for the individual," she added.

At a press conference at PNP headquarters yesterday, the party's spokesman, Delano Franklyn, said the prime minister would not engage the opposition leader in a debate until and unless he addressed a number of issues highlighted by the PNP. including questions regarding a Beverly Hills property he acquired.

"We note with grave concern that since we have asked the questions - from last week - no attempt has been made whatsoever to respond to the specific questions, and we are asking why is it so difficult for the leader of the opposition to come forward and answer these questions."

Late yesterday, Holness issued a statement answering questions about his Beverly Hills house.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com