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'Irresponsible' Portia - PSOJ rebukes opposition leader for absence at partnership agreement signing

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott
Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica President Paul Scott at the PSOJ’s 40th Anniversary Christmas Luncheon at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) has blasted Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller for being "irresponsible" by not participating in Wednesday's signing of the Partnership for a Prosperous Jamaica.

Simpson Miller said she did not attend the signing ceremony, held at King's House in St Andrew, as she was of the view that the word 'prosperous' should not have been included in the title of the agreement.

Simpson Miller said she wrote to Prime Minister Andrew Holness about the matter but was not satisfied that her concerns were properly addressed, so she decided not to participate.

But speaking at the PSOJ's 40th Anniversary Christmas Luncheon, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston yesterday, the organisation's president, Paul Scott, chastised Simpson Miller and suggested that the Opposition People's National Party (PNP) consider its commitment to national development.

"It is incredibly unfortunate that the leader of the opposition did not find herself there to sign it. I would say it is even irresponsible! I think it disappoints the nation," Scott, the president and chief executive officer of the Musson Group, said as he rebuked Simpson Miller.

The PSOJ president said that he hoped that the Opposition had not broken away from the partnership in spirit, even if it did not participate in the ceremony because "the Opposition is a critical stakeholder in Jamaica's development".

"Regardless of any petty politics that may have resulted in her absence, the Opposition has a responsibility to take a leadership [role in national affairs], and I think it is disappointing if they are not taking that position," Scott told The Gleaner.

He said he would be writing to the leader of the opposition to register his disappointment in her conduct, even as he said that with or without the support of the Opposition, the PSOJ was committed to playing its part in cementing the foundation for the development of growth in Jamaica.

Scott, in pointing out that the partnership was a foundation on which stakeholders would take the steps necessary to make Jamaica a prosperous country, also argued that Jamaica could accept the "norms that have led us to where we are today".

 

CHANGE IN ATTITUDE NEEDED

 

During his presentation to scores of private sector leaders and referencing the controversial boycott of Simpson Miller, Scott also stressed that there was need for a change in attitude right across the board.

"It is not just transformations with regard to balancing budgets, but we have to also do everything that we do slightly differently," he said.

"We should not be intimidated by that change."

The PSOJ president stated that Jamaica's approach to issues has led to bad outcomes and poor results. He warned that if a change in attitude did not happen and a transformation did not take place, "we are going to be standing here in 10 years' time having the same conversations".

Scott, however, acknowledged that there have been positives happenings in the country.

"We have seen some economic growth - 2.3 per cent - and we have seen job creation, inflation is below two per cent, statistics look neat, something we probably think was not possible. All of that is recorded in recent history."

In making the argument for the need for partnership, Scott said there was need to build momentum in the economy and further increase growth.

He also said that he saw the PSOJ as a partner in achieving that ambition.

"The PSOJ has signed several agreements with the Government committing our support to the Economic Growth Council, and that is why we signed up with the partnership [on Wednesday]," he said.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com