Sat | Aug 17, 2019

Corruption pushback - Sellers joins PNP to lash Holness administration over corruption

Published:Saturday | September 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Bakari Sellers, CNN political analyst (centre), is introduced to Portia Simpson Miller (right), former prime minister, by Opposition leader Dr Peter Phillips (second left) ahead of a night of cultural showcase staged by the People’s National Party at the National Arena on Thursday. Looking on is Fitz Jackson (left) and Sandra Phillips, wife of Dr Phillips.
Bakari Sellers, CNN political analyst, speaking at the PNP’s night of cultural showcase held at the National Arena on Thursday.

Bakari Sellers, the guest speaker at the People's National Party (PNP) opening night of the party's 80th annual conference, pounced on the issue of corruption even as he called for a strong pushback against the scourge.

Sellers' address at the National Arena on Thursday resonated with a consistent theme the PNP has carried over the last several months as they take aim at the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) administration, describing it as "the most corrupt since Independence".

He indicated that the PNP as a minority voice in Government should build a plan and network to mobilise people to push back against the tide of greed and corruption.

Sellers, a Democrat who represented South Carolina's 90th District in the Lower House of the state legislature in the United States from 2006 to 2014 also used the occasion to lash out at Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America.




Trump is under pressure amid corruption allegations in the 2016 presidential election.

Sellers charged that corruption is corrosive to freedom "... eating away at the barns between us", as it gives rise to "division and spite. So it follows as it must that any free people in any people's party must always stand against corruption".

The PNP's main contention surrounds the operation of agencies under the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Energy in which there have been allegations of corruption, nepotism, and cronyism, leading to the resignation of Andrew Wheatley, former minister, and the dissolution of boards as well as the separation of heads of public bodies.

But Sellers, in taking the administration to task, also questioned how a government could explain challenges in public transportation when it allegedly gave $600 million in sweetheart deals to the politically connected few and contractors.

He also commented on the controversy now shadowing the state-owned oil refinery, Petrojam, questioning how the Government can explain to the people the rising cost of fuel given the issue impacting the agency.

Sellers reasoned that when the PNP speaks up about the corruption allegedly taking place under the current administration, "it's not about politics or gamesmanship".

"It's because corruption drains public resources for private profit and the public good suffers [from] run-down schools, flooding streets, and countless other symptoms of wilful neglect," the US politician said.