Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Phillips : Opposition will resist oppressive measures

Published:Tuesday | April 4, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Governor General Sir Patrick Allen(left) presents Dr Peter Phillips leader of the Opposition with the instrument of office at Kings House yesterday.
Fitz Jackson

Dr Peter Phillips has signalled that the parliamentary Opposition will put up strong resistance to any measure introduced by the Government that is oppressive.

In a Gleaner interview after receiving the instrument of office as opposition leader at King's House yesterday, Phillips sent a message to the Andrew Holness administration that the Opposition would be "quite vocal in our view that the present structure of the property tax regime is untenable".

Since the Government announced adjustments in the property tax structure recently, there has been intense national debate on the issue, with some Jamaicans crying foul, claiming they are now facing increases of up to 1,000 per cent.

The administration had signalled that it would discuss the matter at a Cabinet meeting yesterday and return to the country with its latest position.

Phillips yesterday pledged that he and his parliamentary colleagues on the opposition benches would serve the interest of the Jamaican people with vigour. He also committed, on behalf of the Opposition, to respect the Constitution of Jamaica, as well as to uphold the laws of the country.


Defending the people


"We will be vigorous in defending the needs of the people for good governance, for good laws, for relief from anything that is oppressive or deleterious to their well-being. We will do so primarily through the Parliament and through the exercise of those powers which our membership of the Parliament affords us," Phillips declared, during a brief ceremony yesterday at King's House where he was handed the instrument of office by Governor General Sir Patrick Allen.

Phillips told the small gathering, including members of parliament, People's National Party (PNP) stalwarts and members of his family, that the Opposition would also seek dialogue with all elements of the population through civic organisations in an attempt to secure a better future for Jamaicans.

He also revealed that as a political organisation, the PNP would be embarking on a process of "listening and reconnection" to canvass the views of members of the public and party personnel.

Phillips to name new spokesman on finance

Dr Peter Phillips, who yesterday officially took the reins as leader of the parliamentary Opposition, has said he would be relinquishing the crucial position of opposition spokesman on finance.

As opposition spokesman on finance, Phillips chaired Parliament's hard-hitting Public Accounts Committee. The committee reviews various reports from the Auditor General's Department.

With Phillips set to hand over the responsibility of opposition spokesman on finance to one of his parliamentary colleagues, The Gleaner asked Fitz Jackson, member of parliament for St Catherine Southern, if he would take on the job.

Jackson told The Gleaner that as a parliamentarian, he remained committed to giving support to the "team that I am a part of in whatever way I can and in areas that I feel comfortable in so doing. When that time comes, when Dr Phillips and myself may have a discussion about any particular role, then I will have to make a decision based on those discussions."