Thu | Dec 12, 2019

Opposition irked by 'negative' label - OPM declares no time for 'meaningless' talk on SOEs

Published:Tuesday | January 1, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Bristling at a release in which the Government said that it had no time for meaningless talk, the People's National Party (PNP) yesterday lambasted Prime Minister Andrew Holness' office for suggesting that Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips' response to an invitation to a meeting on the states of emergency was negative.

In a statement yesterday, published hours before Holness set tomorrow as the proposed date for meeting with Phillips and his team, the PNP said that the Office of the Prime Minister's (OPM) assertion that the Opposition leader had responded negatively was factually incorrect. The PNP also said that the OPM gave the impression that what was expected was a rubber-stamping of the Jamaica Labour Party position.

"There is nothing to be gained from making national security into a political football. The PNP wishes to restate that the Opposition remains ready, as we have always been, to discuss any and all national security issues within the context of the provisions of the Jamaican Constitution and the vote of the Parliamentary Opposition in the House of Representatives on December 12, 2018," the PNP statement read.

In its own statement earlier yesterday, the OPM said that the Government was currently engaged in an intense planning process to maintain the security gains and the safety of the citizens of Jamaica.

"Given the negative response of the leader of the Opposition to the invitation of the prime minister to meet and reconsider the extensions of the states of public emergency, the Government has been focused on fine-tuning its security plans for the coming year," the OPM said.

"The Government does not wish to make security into a political football nor do we wish to engage in meaningless talk. The Government has always sought a united position on security matters and would welcome the cooperation of the Opposition even at this late stage. However, such cooperation must be genuine and meaningful."

The PNP subsequently said that an attempt at one-upmanship "is neither necessary nor helpful in the present situation as the Opposition is firm on its position, which was arrived at after careful consideration of the entire constitutional and human-rights issues as well as the usefulness of states of emergency over an extended period".

The PNP said further that all the security operations, except for arbitrary detention, could be maintained.