Arscott declares hands clean! - PNP VP says Horne report 'designated to cause mischief'
Noel Arscott, one of the People's National Party's (PNP) incumbent vice-presidents, has declared that his hands are clean as the party continues to be rocked by revelations that millions of dollars collected from donors towards its 2016 general election campaign were withheld.
Arscott told The Gleaner yesterday that he found the behaviour despicable and that he was disgusted that "PNP comrades could behave like this".
Said Arscott, the former local government minister: "No man, not me. This is disgusting. It is hurtful. I cannot believe that someone could use the party's name to collect money, get the money and then not turn it over. I hope anyone who did that lost their seats."
Continuing, he said: "I was shocked when I heard about it. I had to try and help constituencies from what I was able to raise. This is not the first time you are hearing these kinds of arguments inside the PNP, or Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for that matter. I don't have any evidence of this because I wouldn't do this."
Arscott's comments came against the background of a report from former PNP treasurer Norman Horne, and presented to the PNP National Executive Council (NEC), that monies collected on behalf of the party did not reach the treasury.
Since the report, fingers have been pointed at senior party officials said to be guilty of "pocketing monies contributed to the party".
On Sunday, a disappointed PNP official said that of the $1 million personally solicited on behalf of the party, $850,000 was stolen.
"I am not asking you, I am telling you because I was the one who asked for the monies. And by the time it reached the party, only $150,000 was handed over," said the party official who declared that "this robbery has been happening a long, long time".
For Arscott, the whole matter has made him sick to his stomach.
"It pains my heart to know that if a constituency got $200,000 more they could have won a seat, simply by providing transportation for them to go and vote. Remember, we only lost by one seat you know?" said Arscott, who is seeking re-election to the position of vice-president when elections are held on Saturday, September 17.
However, he expressed more disgust with Horne for committing the issue to paper, saying the public revelation does not help the party.
"Horne should have presented the report to us. He should have gone to the individuals who he was told collected the money and told them to hand over the money. When he raises the issue like he has done, it is designated to cause mischief," said Arscott.