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Nigel Clarke leaves colonial taste in Bunting's mouth - Former minister says JLP aspirant mimics aspirations of colonial masters

Published:Sunday | March 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

Central Manchester Member of Parliament Peter Bunting has painted a picture of Dr Nigel Clarke, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) candidate down to contest today's by-election for the North West St Andrew seat, against the backdrop of the dark colonial times of the past.

"In a sense, he reminds me of the black Englishman of colonial times who aspired to be sort of black royalty," Bunting charged, controversially, in a video on social media site Facebook.

According to Bunting, Clarke has "great British education and sort of mimicking the values and the affectations of the former colonial masters".

The former national security minister argued that Clarke's personality contrasted with that of his People's National Party (PNP) opponent Keisha Hayle, who he claimed has a "rural and down-to-earth ethos".

Clarke is a Rhodes Scholar and has affiliations with the University of Oxford, the University of the West Indies and serves as the chief operating officer at the Musson Group.

He also serves on a number of boards and has been an ambassador at large in the Andrew Holness administration, according to his profile on Bloomberg.

However, Bunting, a high-profile banker, argued that the people of Jamaica have adopted an elitist mentality in deciding the profile of those who should seek representation.

"The truth is, if we consider Parliament and politics as a vehicle through which the various interests and sectors in society are balanced, and you prevent, for example, a capitalist class and the free-market excesses from taking advantage of the average consumer in the market, if you are able to provide some affirmative action for those who are the very bottom, if you see politics and Parliament playing that role, then at the very least, we need a mix of persons from the technocrats with those who most organically understand the challenges of the working-class person in Jamaica," he contended.

Following the pronouncement, Bunting faced criticism online, with some recalling Bunting's role in the British wanting to 'gift' Jamaica a prison back in 2015.

It is not the first time Bunting has made claims along colonial lines, though.

Last year, he was rebuked by his PNP colleagues for insisting that the Chinese were colonising various sectors of the Jamaican economy.