Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Spencer makes apology through ombudsman

Published:Friday | April 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter

State Minister for National Security Rudyard Spencer has issued a formal apology through a letter written by the political ombudsman, Donna Parchment Brown, for partisan comments he made at a Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) meeting in Bellefield, Manchester, on March 18. Parchment Brown summoned Spencer to a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the breach of standard as outlined in the Agreement and Declaration on Political Conduct.

The letter states that Spencer, among other things, voluntarily extends a complete and unreserved apology to the people of Jamaica, the Opposition, and the Jamaica Labour Party and that he condemns political tribalism in all its forms.

The breach occurred when Spencer told Labourites that they would have increased access to resources from the Rural Agricultural Development Authority because a JLP member was the chairman. He said: "We have a system where we will now have our own chairman of RADA, and things have been happening, and things can happen at RADA ... . Where you never have a parish manager for RADA, you now have a Labourite being the chairman of RADA ... . You can't say that you are getting no attention. You can't say nothing is happening because in fairness, you have your own manager to report whatever problems you have and expect him to solve those problems."


No apology protocol


Parchment Brown explained that there was no protocol that dictated how an apology for a breach of the political code should be made. She told The Gleaner: "In the past, I have had a situation where there has been an agreed statement on a number of things. That statement has been released to the press. On this occasion, we agreed that the letter would be released officially by the Office (of the Political Ombudsman) rather than by the recipients of the letter."

Spencer retracted the remarks on a Nationwide News Network talk show last week, five days after Prime Minister Andrew Holness made a call for the withdrawal of the remarks in an interview with The Gleaner.