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No mindless opposition, Phillips warns shadow spokespersons

Published:Thursday | October 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM
People's National Party leader Dr Peter Phillips meets with members of his Shadow Cabinet at the party's St Andrew office on Tuesday.

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has vowed that members of the People's National Party's (PNP) new Shadow Cabinet will not embark on a path of frivolous condemnation of government policies just for the sake of opposing.

In a wide-ranging interview with The Gleaner yesterday, following the first meeting of the Shadow Cabinet on Tuesday, Phillips said, "Our purpose is not mindless opposition. Our purpose is nation building. Our purpose is to fulfil the mandate of our constitution, which is to keep a government on its toes. To act as a check and balance against government excess and mismanagement."

He argued that the public and the electorate expect the Opposition to outline a realistic vision, the way forward, and the priorities of a new PNP government, particularly at this time when the Jamaica Labour Party administration is "floundering".


Shadow Cabinet not too big


Phillips scoffed at critics of the size of the Shadow Cabinet as he argued that with 19 portfolios, the responsibilities of each member would not be too heavy.

"A Shadow Cabinet is very different from a Cabinet. Our purpose is to, first of all, monitor the Government as it is operating, but it is also to give me a chance to see how various members of the team perform in the different areas and to give them an opportunity to demonstrate their capacities and skills while keeping the Government on their toes," he stated.

Phillips said that members of the Shadow Cabinet have also been mandated to build links with the stakeholders in their respective areas and to articulate the policy positions of the opposition.