Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Letter of the Day | Of Simpson Miller, Holness and libel laws

Published:Monday | June 6, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Once again Daniel Thwaites, with his brilliant writing, hit the nail on the head with his June 5, 2016 piece titled 'Political hurricane season already?"

There should be a higher burden of proof placed on politicians and other public officials when it comes to libel.

In assuming public life, they assume positions of public trust, therefore, they should not be able to manipulate the libel laws.

Andrew Holness' spirited defence is troubling. A person with nothing to hide should be willing to endure the scrutiny without resorting to lawsuits and injunctions.

I love Andrew Holness. I think he's bright - and he is off to a rip-roaring start.

As member of parliament, he walked through a constituency not supportive of him. He graciously endured the sneers and taunts, keeping in mind the bigger picture.

The Economic Growth Council is a brilliant stroke, tamping down political rancour. Brilliant! Public-private partnerships - brilliant! Ending tacit or overt revenge and political paybacks - brilliant!

Now the time has come and passed for him to disclose his financials. In the USA, this could be a career-ending scenario. We have to get serious in Jamaica. We can't be blasÈ and accepting of politicians' foolishness anymore!

These politicians don't get it. A transformative leader must be willing to make personal sacrifices, because sometimes perception is as potent as reality, and this impacts your ability to effectively lead.




Jamaica is considered among the most corrupt countries in the world. The population is cynical, apathetic and distrustful of politicians.

A sophisticated politician would be cognisant, and perhaps postpone such a noteworthy edifice as Holness' Beverly Hills mansion.

Nobody is advocating that one takes a vow of poverty, but if you are genuine, and you consider the dire straits the country is in, you should be focused on the mission at hand.

Public life is a calling, not an opportunistic platform. I hope, for the sake of the country, that PM Andrew Holness and Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller emerge from their trials unscathed, but to use legal manoeuvres challenging people's right to question your behaviour in a country with our political history, and consequential failing economy, is just dead wrong.