Wed | Jul 17, 2019

Political ombudsman to investigate Tomlinson’s tweet

Published:Thursday | May 23, 2019 | 12:08 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

By the middle of next week, Political Ombudsman Donna Parchment Brown expects to lay to rest all issues surrounding a tweet made last Wednesday by People’s National Party Youth Organisation President Krystal Tomlinson, likening Prime Minister Andrew Holness to former German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler.

The Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Central Executive threatened on Sunday to refer Tomlinson to Parchment Brown, despite her eventually apologising for stating that “Holness’ track record suggests that he is a prime minister who has scant regard for the court, the Constitution and the separation of powers doctrine. Reminds me of Adolph Hitler and his approach to designing a ‘New’ Germany.”

Tomlinson’s comments attracted widespread condemnation in public spheres and from social media users.

Though no official complaint has reached her office from the Central Executive, Parchment Brown told The Gleaner on Tuesday that she will carry out a probe, as such comments breach “part four of the public utterances in the agreement and declaration on political conduct”, which she said clearly outlines that statements that might incite violence should not be made, as well as anything defamatory that might bring persons, their political party or family into disrepute.

“Clearly, Adolf Hitler is a complicated and despicable character, so it is important to understand what precisely she was trying to convey. On the face of it, most people consider that to be very inappropriate. I very rarely draw conclusions without having the opportunity to speak with everybody concerned. Putting Hitler’s name in the mix would at a minimum be inflammatory and so in terms of public utterances, this is something that would raise some concerns for me. I don’t have to get a report from them to look into the matter,” the political ombudsman said.

She cautioned about the use of social media, which she deemed one of the greatest inventions if properly used, and the most dangerous tool if people are not careful what they post.

“I have issued a press release around the use of social media. The difficulty is that when we are called upon to explain what we have said, you are already in a problem.”

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com