Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Holness must shoulder bulk of blame

Published:Tuesday | March 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM


I read with interest Olive Nelson's column 'JLP circus just isn't funny' (Gleaner, Monday, March 2, 2015). Trying to mitigate or shift blame from Andrew Holness and trying to burnish his image is neither helpful to him nor the public.

In leadership, there is responsibility and accountability, neither of which is delegable. So the focus on Arthur Williams is specious. By the way, the court, in its declaration, which most reasonable people agree with, did not exonerate Mr Williams, as it stated that based on the 'clean hands' principle, he would not be awarded any cost.

Based on the affidavits of Williams and Holness, it is not clear as to who crafted the letters [conceptualiser], as Williams asserted he was only responsible for drafting, for which he accepted responsibility. The argument that he was chief of staff to Mr Holness is of import, but we must all be mindful of the multiple statements of the leader of the party that he was advised by a number of lawyers, not just Mr Williams.

As for the leader of the Opposition, his office, unlike other members of his party, is the only one that is constitutional, and so it is reasonable to expect him to read and have some fair knowledge of the Constitution.

As a significant constitutional office holder, if democracy is to mean anything, I would like Mr Holness to explain to Jamaica and the world if he is not aware that every individual, regardless of status or office, is entitled to freedom of thought, association, political doctrine and support, expression and, by extension, dissociation.

If he is not aware of, and does not accept, those fundamentals of the Constitution, he has no right being party leader.


Fraudulent conversion


In the context of criminal law, there is a crime known as fraudulent conversion. Its essence is where someone entrusted with property to keep in safe custody or to apply pay or deliver for a specific purpose converts same to benefits or purposes for which it was not intended. In that context, his actions bordered closely on criminality.

As well-intentioned citizens of Jamaica, we must all stop mitigating the repugnant actions of Mr Holness and stop looking for scapegoats.

Finally, let me recommend to all the reading of the declaratory judgment of the Constitutional Court. It is instructive, well reasoned, well-written and easy to understand. It seems clear to me that Mr Holness and his lawyers have not read it, as, in my opinion, there is nothing in it to disagree with.